Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent- this is not a recommendation!

Have you seen all the posts on Pinterest for homemade laundry detergent? Me too, so I thought I'd try it. The items pictured above are all you need: 
  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Soap-I used Ivory for its clean scent, but I think just about any is fine
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle 
All you have to do is grate the soap (in your food processor or by hand) and mix the ingredients. From what I read, you only need TWO tablespoons per load and you put it in your washer (not in the drawer...even if you have a front loader, which is what I have. Supposedly, it will clog your system). I have been still adding fabric softener in the drawer because I can't stand my clothes to not have fabric softener! I read all of these marvelous things about this detergent- how it will clean your washing machine, how 2 tablespoons is really all it takes, how clean your clothes are, how awesome it removes your stains, etc, etc, etc.

Maybe I did something wrong, but I am not impressed! My clothes feel and smell like all I did was put fabric softener on them and dry them. I decided to increase the amount of detergent to about 3/4 a cup. That seems to help a little. I have had to wash several things twice to get stains out and have never used my OxiClean more! In my opinion, this is not something I would repeat. Since I hate wasting anything, I will suck it up and use the rest of my detergent. It makes a lot and basically fills up the tub in the picture above. I had such high hopes. :(

Thursday, October 25, 2012

16 months old

Man I love this age! James is so funny! He tries to repeat words, laughs a lot, and loves to make other people giggle. He loves to wrestle, especially with his 5 year old cousin Thomas. Thomas is really good to pretend wrestle with him (fake fall when James pushes him and gently throw him down). Those two have a blast together. He's learning so much each day! He can point to body parts (eyes, nose, mouth, hands, belly button, etc.). Some new words he says are "Ready?", "ride", "car", "gape" (grape), "ball", "bath", "sweep" (this child LOVES a broom or vacuum cleaner!), "shoe","bite", and "cracker". He can jog (I wouldn't call it a fast run) and tries to jump, which is really just bending his knees and moving his head, but he thinks he's up in the air! I love his easy going personality. 

We had a sad event happen recently. On September 24th, my grandmother passed away. She lived a wonderful life and was 97 when she passed away peacefully. She had been having a difficult time breathing and some heart issues. We all miss her- she was an amazing woman. The funeral was a simple graveside service and we ate lunch at my aunt's afterwards. The great-grandchildren all released balloons into the sky in honor of "Great Mommy" (that's what Adelyn calls her). Here's a video taken from my cousin's phone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjs0Xo0rfGw 

On a happier note, we celebrated Seth's birthday on October 3rd. We met friends and family out at the German restaurant in town and had a great time! Happy birthday, love!

My mom, kids, and I after the funeral

Making Star Wars sugar cookies for Daddy's birthday
Annual trip to Kinsey Farms

Adelyn's newest pose- bunny ears for everyone! This is Conner, Seth's cousin's son, with Adelyn and James at Kinsey Pumpkin Farm

James was slightly obsessed with this tractor! He cared nothing about the pumpkins

James and Adelyn in their matching fall outfits before church. Seth is opposed to dressing them alike and says they look miserable. He's probably right- ha, ha!
Can you find Adelyn? They wore their costumes to gymnastics

There are about 20 turkeys that roam the pasture. Here are 5 perfectly perched on our fence. Isn't Thanksgiving around the corner?? They better watch their steps- haha!

We spent the night with friends in Dunwoody. Their two boys are both born within days of our two. Here are Henry and James playing cars together.
The next day we took the kids to Stone Mountain for the Pumpkin Festival. It was so much fun- great weather and lots of fun activities (ropes course and ziplining for kids, story telling, 4D movie, etc) for the children. Eli and Adelyn get along great!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yellowstone/ Jackson/ Albuquerque

We just returned from an awesome trip with Seth's parents and his sister's family. Between myself, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law there were over 1,500 pictures. (if you know this family, you can easily guess who took the bulk of the pictures). This will probably be my longest post ever, so bear with me! :) 

It started off by spending a few hours in Jackson, WY. As we were entering the city, we saw FOUR MOOSE! Crazy!

Sign on the square

Boy Scouts collect these antlers. On each corner of the square, there is an arch like this one. 

The four crazy cousins
After eating dinner at a delicious steak house, we drove to Yellowstone, where we spent 3 nights at the Old Faithful Inn. We stayed in the "newer" part of the hotel (built in the 1920s vs. 1903). We ate breakfast and dinner at the Inn and lunch was PBJs on the road. Days were spent exploring all the beauty this Park has to offer. If you haven't been here, YOU MUST! I have never seen sights like these! 
Adelyn is searching for wildlife

Hello, Old Faithful! There's a clock in the Inn that predicts (within ten minutes) what time it will erupt. It was pretty accurate!
West Thumb Area (Black Pool)

Bluebell Pool

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Buffalo were a dime a dozen. They roamed the streets and the fields

Geysers and buffaloes

Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park...Elk were the game here. Imagine if this were your front door (and notice all the droppings on the sidewalk)? 

James hiking with Daddy and Grandpa to see petrified wood

Mammoth Hot Springs

I think this is the best family picture we got- ha,ha! I don't know why I even try- James is so wiggly and Adelyn is in the "I don't smile or do what you want when there's a camera" phase.

Me with my little buddy. Unfortunately, James was pretty sick in Yellowstone. He had a fever and was super congested. This began the day before we left. He was so stopped up that he slept terribly at night and was pretty fussy during the days. Luck was somewhat on our side because 1. Adelyn got to sleep with Grandma and Grandpa, so her sleep wasn't messed up 2. I threw in some leftover sample anti-biotic given to me at a recent doctor appointment, so that helped him get cleared up faster and 3. Each day was majority spent in the car to see the sights, so he got his (car seat) naps and was out of the elements

Adelyn with her sweet Grandma

Paint Pots (it looks like milk!)

Old Faithful Inn- Adelyn called it a castle the entire time

Adelyn and I walking around the boardwalk at Old Faithful

Waiting to watch Daisy Geyser erupt

Melissa printed off the workbooks so that the kids could become Junior Park Rangers (which Adelyn and Emily renamed Junior Park Ranger FAIRIES). It was fun to complete the activities (we all learned something!). This nice Park Ranger had them "sworn in", complete with an official handshake and badge.
We spent one night and a half day in Jackson, WY, which consisted of eating dinner at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (where I got an insanely large bison/elk/beef burger), breakfast at The Bunnery, a brief tour of the Tetons, and lunch at The Shade.
On our way out of town, we drove through Grand Teton National Park. This is the breathtaking Lake Jenny.

Next, we flew to Albuquerque, NM. At first Adelyn called it AppleTurkey. Last year, we attended the Balloon Festival and several events were cancelled due to bad weather. They issued rain checks, so we used them to come again this year. We stayed at a great hotel (i.e. rooms were separate from a little living area- perfect when traveling with kids) for our last 2 nights. ONCE AGAIN, the Friday morning event was cancelled. Agh! We all got up early to be there by 6 a.m., only to encounter rain and wind. We spent a chill day in the hotel, which was really nice, given all that we'd done.  
Thomas and Adelyn
Seth left Friday evening to coach at Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA). Saturday morning, we tried again. We got up earrrrrrrrrly to be there around 6 a.m. and it was gorgeous! Yay! It was a little chilly (and I was a bad mom, leaving hats and gloves in the car thinking it'd warm up faster than it did) but almost all balloons launched!

I just can't describe what it's like to watch these balloons blow up on the ground and launch one by one with hundreds of viewers

One example of the Special Shapes 

Darth Vader! This is one of the few that didn't launch.

Of course, they had to have matching balloon tees! (thanks  http://www.facebook.com/EisforEmbroidery!). Don'tcha love Adelyn's skirt AND jeans? This girl does not like to wear pants and by the end of the trip she was sick of wearing pants, so I let her wear this concoction. Whatever. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"I'm so EH-SITED!"

Below are snapshots of several expressions Adelyn made on our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Festival. This was an amazing trip as an adult, but it was even better watching my child's reactions.

Bewilderment, amazement, puzzlement, anticipation, joy...

Seeing Old Faithful for the first time

Castle Geyser in the background

Watching the blonde, curley-haired hot air balloon go up- we told her it was Adelyn