Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I fight with my dishwasher pretty much daily.  Lately stuff just hasn't been getting clean.  I've had an impossible time trying to find a detergent that doesn't leave my dishes caked in white crud.  I've tried everything from the eco-friendly to mainstream commercial (Cascade, anyone?).  To top it off, our hard water isn't making things any easier.  

I can get on board with pre-washing my dishes, but pre and post washing is just getting rediculous.  

So, I set out to make my own detergent!  After a lot of Googling, I found a lot of "recipes" that used borax.  Since borax is... uh... toxic and all, I kinda didn't want it on my dishes.  I know people use it in laundry and around the house all the time, but I don't eat or drink off my clothes or my floor, so the standard is not the same.  

Sadly, I couldn't find any sensible recipes (as in recipes that don't involve chopping lemons for every wash load-like I have time for that!).  So, as I often do, I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. 

Here's what you need:  

1 bar of castile soap:  

You can find this stuff at just about any grocery store:  Vons, Albertsons, Safeway, Hyvee, Kroger, Etc. 

Castile soap is supposed to work well with hard water, which is great news if you have hard water like we do.  

Just grate the castile soap on a cheese grater.  The smaller the pieces the better.  

2 cups of washing soda:

½ cup Kosher Salt:

3 tablespoons of citric acid:

This is where the magic happens.  The secret is in the citric acid.  If you find that your dishes aren’t coming out clean and sparkly, you probably need to add more citric acid, because the citric acid is what gives the dishes a streak free shine.  Word on the street is that you can get citric acid (also known as sour salt) at wine/beer making stores.  In a pinch, you can use powdered lemonade mix (just be sure the main ingredient is citric acid).  FYI- 1 packet = approximately ½ tablespoon.  

Lastly, a handful of rice (optional).  Insider tip #1:  (yes, we’re all insiders now) if your detergent starts to get clumpy from moisture, add a handful of rice to the mix.  The rice will absorb any moisture and wash away in the dishwasher.  

Mix it all together and store it in some kind of air tight container and you are good to go!

Presentation is everything.

The best part is that it really works!  

Now, hear my words:  You do NOT need a ton of this detergent to get your dishes clean.  If you fill your entire soap compartment on your dishwasher you will end up with funky soapy dishes.  We experimented a bit and found ½ tablespoon of soap to be the sweet spot with our dishwasher. 

Insider tip #2:  If you add a little vinegar to your Jet Dry dispenser, your dishes will have never looked cleaner!

I am really excited about this!  I think I am going to keep making my own dish detergent.  It’s cheaper than the store bought stuff, this recipe will seriously last forever, and I know everything that goes into it.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  

If you decide to make some yourself, let me know how you like it! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures in Mommyhood

*Warning- This post is about barf.  If you do not wish to read about barf, stop reading now*

Oh, what a morning!  It all started off well enough.  Hailey woke up a little early for my taste, but what else is new.  I was even blessed with a napping baby  while I got dressed and hair and makeup-ed (it’s a word) for our outing this morning. 

Fast forward to me driving down a busy street in Chandler.  Baby starts coughing in the back seat.  Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Coughing happens.  I start to talk to her and reassure her as I always do thinking that will be the end of it.  Well, baby keeps coughing… no, wait a minute, baby is choking A quick glance into my mirror and I see that my baby is barfing buckets and buckets and buckets of spitup-it  JUST. KEEPS. COMING.- and baby is now choking. Enter mommy panic attack. 

So, I quickly pull off the road, hop out of the car and rush to my baby’s aid.  I am fortunate that I did not break something due to quickly and simultaneously braking, putting the car in park, and setting the parking break (force of habit).  By the time I get to her she of course has already sorted out the whole choking situation.  

Enter problem #2:  Barf.  Lots and lots of barf.  Barf on her face, barf ALL down the front of her dress, barf on the carseat.  Barf everywhere.  My first thought:  “Oh, I can just wipe it up, it’s fine.”  Second thought:  “Oh, no I can’t.  I did not know babies could ever possibly barf that much.”  

But, never fear!  We’ll just change clothes!  We are only around the corner from our destination and we will just use the spare onesie that I always have on hand and change into that!  That would work perfectly.  That is if the onesie were in my bag where it always is except for today.  Crap.  

I ask myself if we should go home, but no.  We both got up, got dressed, and drove a half hour to get here.  That’s no small feat with a four month old.  We’re going.  

So there I am in Chandler, no clue where ANYTHING is but I figure there must be a Walgreens, a Wal Mart, or if we’re really lucky a Target somewhere in the vicinity where I can buy a onesie.  As luck would have it, there was a Wal Mart across the street from the coffee house we were going in the first place.  Score!  Things are beginning to look up.  

We pull into our parking space and I go to get the barf covered baby.  Now, what am I going to do with the barf covered soaked baby between now and when we get our new onesie?

I shall wear her!  Nope, you don’t really want barf on your Moby, do you?  

I shall carry her!  Nope, too much barf.  

I shall wipe her off and then carry her!  Nope, not possible.  You’re screwed.  

I shall carry her in her carseat until I get a onesie! (Ironic since we were on our way to a babywearing meeting).  Nope!  Still too much barf. 

Have I mentioned that I’m a huge sympathy barfer?  You have no idea the amount of willpower it took for me to not contribute to the situation.  Not a good scene for me.
Well, that settles it.  The dress has got to go.
So, there I am walking through Wal Mart looking like a hillbilly carrying my baby that is wearing a diaper and only a diaper.  We locate a onesie and grab a bottle of water because I have had no breakfast at this point (its after 10 am) and did not bring a beverage because we were supposed to be at the coffee place 30 minutes ago.
In typical Wal Mart fashion there were only two checkout lanes open and at least half a dozen people in line ahead of us.  Listen up, people:  If there is ever a frazzled looking mom standing in line holding a half naked baby and buying a onesie and not a bunch of other stuff, just let her go ahead of you.  The universe will thank you later.
Finally, 45 minutes later we arrive at the coffee shop around the corner from where this whole episode began in the first place.  I am wearing my Moby because, you know, we are going to a babywearing meeting; but because it was 110 degrees today, it is hotter than H-E-double hockey sticks in that thing.  So, in another fit of irony, I remove my babywearing device the minute I get to my babywearing meeting.
Now we are off to take baths.  And hose off a carseat.
Hope your morning was less eventful than mine! 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I made some Ebelskivers over the weekend! These are also known as "pancake puffs." My dear sweet grandma gave us a handy dandy electric Ebelskiver maker the last time we were in San Diego and I am now completely addicted to making them! It's really a lot of fun.

The Ebelskiver Cookbook has so many neat ideas from breakfast to appetizers. I am totally inspired and will probably be bringing them as a dish to the next several potlucks I attend.

The first ones we tried were the Cinnamon Ebelskivers. Topped with a little maple syrup and powdered sugar they were delicious!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Family Vacay

This weekend Brett had some extra days off, so we decided to head up to the Grand Canyon since we have not been since we moved to Arizona.
It was fun to take Hailey on a trip, even if it was just a short one.  The Grand Canyon was beautiful, and pretty much exactly how I remembered it.
We obviously did not do much hiking with a baby in tow, but we enjoyed walking some of the easy access trails along the rim and taking some pictures.
Hailey did well and was adorable, as always.  She attracted many ooohs and ahhs from passersby. 

My baby carrier was put to the ultimate test and Hailey loved riding around in it!

Grand Canyon Baby!
I took a rapid series of pictures.  All put together she looks like a tour guide: 
On my left you will see the Grand Canyon...
And the Colorado River...
So cute.

If you'd like to see more pictures from our trip, you can check them out here:
Grand Canyon 2011

Four Months- Time Flies!

How is it that our little baby girl is four months already?!?  It's amazing how much she has changed in such a short time.  She has gone from teeny tiny newborn to a baby who is rolling over, sitting up with help, and scooting (not crawling, but scooting) her way around on the floor.  Time just flies by-- and she just keeps getting cuter! 

I Made a Baby Carrier!

I had been looking for a Mei Tai-like baby carrier for a while now, but they can be so expensive.  Because our initial use of the Moby was a bit of a rocky road, I didn't want to spend $100 on something I was taking a chance on.  So, I made my own! 
I couldn't find any patterns that met my needs exactly, so I ended up drafting my own pattern as well.  Yes, I'm pretty impressed with myself.  ;) 

The good news is that Hailey loves it!  And I love hands-free shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.  It's a win-win. 

(Please ignore the crazy-lady-crafting-all-day hair)
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