Natural Cleaning: Home Made Laundry Detergent

Before Ari came along, I was in the process of trying to find some suggestions for home made and/ or natural cleaning products. There has been such a movement lately towards removing chemical products from our homes that it isn’t too hard to find recipes for everything from bathroom cleaners to laundry detergent. (I even found one for baby wipes, if I give it a try, I’ll let ya know!) Plus, an added bonus is the cost savings of making it yourself; you can see my OCD cost breakdown after the recipe.
I decided to start with laundry detergent first, since it’s something that I didn’t use everyday (again, before the munchkin arrived!). I figured if it didn’t work, I hadn’t spent a ton of time trying to clean something without success.

The one thing to keep in mind with home made laundry detergent is that you likely won’t get that heavy perfume-y smell when you unload the laundry from the machine. People with allergies love this, those used to that ‘mountain fresh’ or ‘summer breeze’ scent may not like the change.
An interesting little tidbit I came across while doing my research: fabric softener makes clothes more flammable! I don’t use a whole lot of the stuff- not even the dryer sheets- but when I saw that, it confirmed that removing as many chemicals as I could was at least worth a try. Because really, who needs to be more flammable??? I don’t think it’s a sought- after trait.
I have used this home made detergent for a few months and find it works well. However, I still turn to a store bought (but as natural as possible!) detergent for my hubby’s work grubbies and any other items that need an extra kick. You’ll need a large jug to mix & store it in (how about an old detergent jug???) 😉

Natural Laundry Detergent:

Makes 1 Gallon/ 3.79litres
Good for 16- 32 loads, depending on size & soil level (1/2 cup for small- regular loads; 1 cup for large loads and/ or dirtier items)

3 tbsp each:
– washing soda
– borax
– castille soap
– several drops essential oils (I used orange Dr Bonner’s castille soap, so I added orange & lemon essential oil for a fresh citrus scent)

4 cups boiling water

Pour all dry ingredients into container

Add boiling water & shake well to mix (please put the lid on before shaking!!!!)

Fill remainder of container with cold water (you may have to pre measure a gallon of water into the jug before and mark it with a Sharpie like I did). Let cool before screwing on lid.

I use a dollar store measuring cup for each load 🙂

And now for my OCD cost breakdown (don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
I did the conversions and then divided how many batches I could make per product.

Cost of Ingredients:

Castille Soap     $16.49 32 oz/ 1 Quart
Laundry Soda       7.99 1.6 lbs/ 726 g
Borax                  10.99 4.4 lbs/ 2 kg

Total Cost:                 $39.73

Cost Per Batch:

Castille Soap     $0.79
(based on 21 batches per bottle)
Laundry Soda     0.47
(based on 17 batches per bag)
Borax                  0.23
(based on 47 batches per box)

Total per Batch: $1.66 That’s 5- 10 cents per load!

And as a final note, the great thing about the ingredients is that they have many applications, so you can whip up a variety of other cleaning goodies. 🙂

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Salmon Tostis (Salmon Cakes)

This is another recipe from the EatingWell.com cookbook that I recently downloaded. If you are starting to think all I eat is salmon, think again. 😛 I enjoy the challenge of working with ingredients I already have, and especially enjoy how this helps with the budget!

I used fresh grated potatoes instead of the frozen hashbrowns the recipe calls for and was happy with the result. I skipped the sauce and served these with straight up sour cream, steamed carrots & beans, and roast potatoes & spaghetti squash! phew! A colourful plate! 🙂

Yummy Mummy Salmon Tostis (Salmon Cakes)
Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 4 servings, 2 per person

Ingredients:

2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 
2 large eggs plus 
1 large egg white, lightly beaten 
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (I used dijon)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 3 teaspoons dried, divided 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups frozen hash brown shredded potatoes (I just used fresh potatoes, peeled & grated)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
The salmon cakes ready to go

Yum Yum!

Let’s Get Real: The Truth About Motherhood

Ok, I think it’s time to take the road less traveled and talk a little about the craziness that can come with new motherhood. We all heard the warnings, ‘Your life will never be the same’, ‘say goodbye to sleep’, say goodbye to sex’, etc, etc. I think the honest truth is, no matter  what you heard, and how many times, there really is nothing that can prepare you for this experience. I’ll never forget driving home from work with my Dad before I went on mat leave and having him tell me: “Honey, having a baby is like being hit by a 2 by 4; you won’t know what hit you”. I think my Dad hit the nail on the head and then some.
I am so happy to be a Mom, I can’t wait for all the crazy and fun and memories to come. But I will fess up and say I was truly overwhelmed when our young lady came along. I went into labour at 12:45 in the morning, and was in labour for 23 hours- so I got a great preview of the lack of sleep before Ari even made her debut! By the time the 3 of us came home from the hospital, my husband and I had maybe 3 hours of sleep; and we definitely didn’t get a whole lot more those first few nights. Safe to say pregnancy brain turned into Mommy brain squared. I couldn’t tell you what day it was, the time of day, or how old I was in that first week! I was in a total fog. 
Maybe you got pregnant without planning to, or struggled to get pregnant; maybe your pregnancy was difficult or you suffered bad morning sickness; maybe your labour and delivery didn’t go the way you thought; and/ or maybe the baby you got and how you feel about Motherhood isn’t what you expected. There is never any way of knowing what we are in for. I think the greatest hurdle for new parents- especially Mothers- is that there is no grace period. There is no easing into it. One day you’re pregnant, the next (or few later!) you’re a Mom. Period. No givsies backsies, no ‘hold on, wait I’m not ready!’. Nada. Some embrace this instant change, others struggle, and many of us fall somewhere in the middle.
In the first few weeks following Ari’s birth, I did a lot of soul searching. I was in love with this beautiful  creature that I had been blessed with, but totally stunned by how upside down I felt. And I will say that the lack of sleep probably compounded this. There were tears and hugs with my husband and parents where I needed reassuring that this new life would settle down. This was especially needed in the first few weeks when Ari was fussy in the evenings (see this post for how I found the silver lining).  I remember asking Will when Ari was maybe 3 or 4 weeks old if he thought parents ever feel like they get a grasp on things, or if it’s a constant evolution. He went with the latter, and I have to agree. Looking back even now, I can see how much has changed in such a short period of time. 
I don’t think I had the baby blues or post pardem depression, but I will openly admit that I struggled to regain balance on my new Motherhood legs. One of my best friends had her baby 2 days before me, and I revelled in how naturally she seemed to fall into motherhood. I still appreciate how she takes everything all in stride, and feel like I have started to do so as well.
One of the saving graces was joining a local Mommy group- you’ve heard me talk about it on this blog. I cannot say how much being surrounded by other new Moms has helped me. The babies range from brand spanking new to 6 months, and it’s beyond refreshing to see these women and their bumpkins every week to swap stories and share in the joys and challenges. If you are a new Mom or are currently pregnant, I cannot recommend joining one of these groups enough. Even if you think you have a strong handle on motherhood, you never know when you’re going to get thrown a curve ball and need some reassuring. For this glimpse of sanity (or whatever it is!), I have to thank my sister in law for suggesting that I get out of the house and check it out.
I hope that all new Moms, no matter how calm or overwhelmed they are by their new role, remember the person they were before motherhood. We are Mothers, but we are still ourselves, albeit new versions. I embrace this new phase in my life, but like all the important things in life, appreciate the work and challenges that make it what it is. 
The best things in life aren’t free, they take hard work, but that’s what make us appreciate them. When you look back at life, you’ll have the memories to tell the unique story that is yours. Enjoy writing it.

oxox

Coupon Alert!

If you know anyone looking for baby gear, Websaver has a $5 coupon for Fisher Price Cradle n Swing, rockers, & bouncers!

Click here for the coupon!

Image Source:http://www.google.ca/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=fisher+price+cradle+n+swing&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=kxgiUs6rPOrViwKKqYHQDA&biw=1273&bih=680&sei=lRgiUuywM7HtiQKN6oCQAQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=4i9Ql_mCKKxilM%3A%3B9THEqpF44cVAJM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Frobots.thearbweb.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F05%252Fswing.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Frobots.thearbweb.com%252Fbaby-products-i-couldnt-live-without-pt-2%252Fswing%252F%3B1007%3B1007

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Zucchini Brownies

I’m always up for trying new things, and I love finding ways of adding nutrition to my cooking & baking. Now don’t think I’m delusional or anything, I’m not trying to say brownies are healthy, but I’ll take the chance to add some fibre, etc. And hey, if they fool the hubby, they’ll fool the kids too! 😉

I found this recipe on Rumbly in My Tumbly. Yum Yum! Seriously deadly chocolate territory!
Check out Shannon’s delicious recipe here.

(I swapped the walnuts for chocolate chips and only used 1 cup of icing sugar for the glaze, and the result is to die for!)

Photo Source:
http://sorumblyinmytumbly.blogspot.ca/2012/04/frosted-zucchini-brownies.html
Honestly, these things are SO MOIST it’s incredible! They actually remind me of the giant double chocolate muffins at Costco! 😉
Enjoy!