Thursday, May 31, 2012

Raynor Family Version 2.2

Raynor Family version 2.2 is currently under development with a planned release date of January 17, 2013.

We are
a baby!!

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Blueberry will be getting a baby brother or sister for her third birthday! She is already training to be a good big sister.

January baby!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade Dryer Sheets

Today while I was making my seasonal batch of laundry detergent. (It lasts us for 3 months, see recipe below) I was missing dryer sheets and decided to look for that dryer sheet recipe. I found another use for the cotton flannel washcloths I made more of recently by repurposing some receiving blankets that were too small anyway. I also found some great tips on making homemade dryer sheets. This is all in an effort to reduce paper waste in my household but also I just like to save money. We have not been using dryer sheets because we have sensitive skin in our family and it was just easier not to use them. The ones for sensitive skin are more expensive so I just gave them up for a while.

If you have school-age children, the chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar is kind of fun when mixing the solution for the dryer sheets.

Oh so VERY baby safe!! It is all natural and biodegratable. Easy to make- AND CHEAP!!!

-You will need one bucket w/lid (at least 3 gallons)
-one bar of Fels Naptha
-Washing soda (NOT baking soda-- but also made by A&H... found in the laundry isle.)

Boil 12 cups of water
Grate one bar of Fels Naptha
Disolve Fels Naptha in boiling water
remove water from heat
add 1 cup Borax
and 1 cup Washing soda
stir until completely disolved
(at this point- you can add oil essence if desired, or I add 2 TBS of Dr. Brauners Citrus)
pour solution into bucket, and fill to 3 gallons with cold water.

Soap will become gelotinous as it cools, and it is normal for it to be lumpy. It may need to be stirred after it is cold. Use 1/2 cup detergant per load you can add a scoop of OxyClean to heavily soiled loads, or vinegar to balance odor.
You can actually just mix the grated Fels Naptha with the borax and washing soda to make a dry laundry soap, but then you cannot add the essential oils and I haven't tried it this way.

This is actually just a method of stretching your eco-friendly box soap.

1 box Seventh Generation detg. (or any other earth safe detergent)
8 cups of Baking Soda
4 cups of Washing Soda
2 cups Borax

mix together in a large tub or bucket with lid
use 1/8 cup per load

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DIY Magnet Dots

I got this idea from ConfessionsofaHomeschooler because she has a lot of dot-worksheet activities for preschoolers. I had my doubts as to the permanents of the self-sticking magnets, but it worked out. For less than $3 I made a set of 24 magnet pom-pom Dots.

2 pkg self-sticking magnets from craft store
1 bag of pom-poms from the dollar store

 Letter J dot-worksheet
from ConfessionsofaHomeschooler 

Blueberry loved them because they were "soft and fuzzy" and easy to handle. After we finished the letter J and j she made other designs with them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cooperative Dinners: The New Potluck

We all know why we do potlucks. They save money and time and nobody has to do all the cooking, but every once in a while you might go to one and think "nothing lucky about this selection!" Or there is so much food that it seems like a waste of time to bring anything but you want to contribute. Maybe you don't want to (or can't) do all of the cooking, but you really want a sit-down occasion. If you have not heard of it before, a growing trend that I recommend is the Cooperative Dinner.

In my extended family we leave nothing to luck. None of us have the time or money to make food for everyone for every occasion, but we love any excuse to get together. We plan ahead of time who brings what so we know we will have a complete meal. 

Sometimes it is centered around a main dish. One family will volunteer the main dish and everyone else brings sides to compliment it. Other times we choose 3-4 dishes and all bring some of the ingredients, then cook together. That works better for less formal meals like brunches or themed salads (taco salad, chef salad, etc.) My in-laws have a beautiful kitchen with double oven and two sinks. 

Everyone enjoys the cooperative dinners because there is more time to spend together and nobody breaks the bank.

For years now I have been the one designated to organize these meals. Often my lovely mother-in-law and I will talk about the time and date and she will ask me to email everyone on both sides of the family. 

She and I usually roughly plan what kind of food we will have. They usually provide the main dish since they raise their own beef. I then send out an email with the dishes we are already bringing and others will add to the list with their name next to the dish, then "reply to all" so the list stays updated. Thankfully we have some fairly computer-literate people in the family. 

I never spend more than $10-15, a bit more if I make a main dish or a very fancy dessert, but I am not obligated to. 

Another great thing about our planning is that we have a lot of specialty diets. We have people with food sensitivities (gluten, egg, dairy, tomatoes, pork, etc.) as well as low-carb and diabetic people. By knowing what others are bringing everyone can be sure that they will have something they can eat. 

I have also done this where I used to work and we always had enough food without wasting anything.

How do you usually plan your holiday meals?

Friday, May 11, 2012

I is for Ice Cream

This week we did I is for ice-cream. I have an ice-cream stamp that we stamped on big "I" and small "i" from the Letter of the Week from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We did many of the pages in the Ice Cream Tot Pack from Our Little Monkeys. She has several free and low-cost packs.

Which one is Different?

Picture Puzzles

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Singing Along

Tonight Blueberry sang along WITH me for the first time when I sang to her at bedtime. She sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and recited Humpty Dumpty.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Growing Up!

Some days it seems like your child grows up overnight. She made it all night without the binky and even slept in. She woke up with a dry diaper and used the potty chair. She helped Mommy make smoothies and was no longer afraid of the blender noise because she can hold her ears. It makes a mommy's heart joyful!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Alsea Beach House

We were blessed to find a place to stay for an early birthday weekend. We went with my mom and some friends to Alsea Bay in Oregon. We told Blueberry the night before that we were going to the Ocean the next day. I'm not sure what she knew about the ocean since she has only a recollection from books, but she became very excited and didn't want to go to sleep. It was a long drive for a little girl, but we timed it so she slept most of the way. We drove into Newport first to find some local seafood to cook up at the beach house. We stopped at a local bakery and window shopped for a bit. Then she saw it. She exclaimed and pointed "Look, Mommy! Ocean! Come on!" and took my hand and started running towards the shore. She continued running screaming "Ocean!", "Sand", "Look! Beach", "Waves!" Running through every word she knew to express her excitement. 

When we got to the beach house she immediately wanted to go outside. Friday evening was windy and cold but she just wanted to be out there and experience it. Seeing it through her eyes is such an amazing blessing. My husband knows I LOVE the ocean, but to see it through HER eyes was very special. 

Blueberry loved the giant sandbox in the back!

Sitting on the sand dunes with Mommy

Saturday was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day with just enough wind to make it pleasant. We spent all day at the beach house cooking in the kitchen with the ocean view, digging in the sand and taking walks on the beach. We even managed some minor beach cleanup, grabbing only what we could carry and wishing we had brought a large garbage bag. (There was even a wreckage from a house.) I took a long bath in the Jacuzzi tub. I was SO relaxed!

View from the kitchen window.

 I couldn't even make it to take a full shot of the 280 degree view.

Sunday we took Blueberry to the Aquarium. Another very anticipated experience. She loved watching the trainers feed the sea lions. She loved the fish, the jellyfish and the sharks but she did not want to touch the sea stars or anemones in the touch tank. We topped the weekend off with seafood at Mo's in Newport before heading back home because David likes to try all of the clam chowder, everywhere. 

The Touch Tank with Mommy and Nonna


Sea Lions

It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend and we could not have asked for better weather. We hope to make it back to the coast and Alsea Beach House again soon!