Archive for the ‘Offbeat’ Category

Homemade Laundry Soap

Several years ago, when my oldest (born in 2007) was little, we found that baby skin didn’t do so well with standard (ie. Tide) laundry detergent. We started using Dreft, which is formulated for sensitive skin. It’s not cheap though (and I’ve come to the belief that even the cheapest generic detergent isn’t cheap, but we’ll get to that.)

I had heard of people making their own laundry soap, and thought I’d look into it. It turns out it’s actually pretty easy, and really cheap. I’ve been making our family’s detergent for several years now. Whenever I do, people inevitably ask me how I do it.

It’s been a long time since I found the original recipe I’ve been using, so I’m sorry I can’t give it proper attribution, though I suspect the website I got it from didn’t properly attribute it themselves, so it’s arguably a moot point anyway.

The ingredients and process are fairly simple, and once you get the hang of it, the process goes fairly quickly.

Ingredients
  • 2/3 Bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda (Made by the same people that make Baking Soda, but they’re not the same thing)
  • 1 Cup Borax
Process

To start, fill a large cook pot with some water. I usually do 2-3 quarts, but it doesn’t need to be measured out, you just need enough to dissolve all of the dry ingredients.

Heat the water on medium heat on your stove. Again, it doesn’t matter too much how hot, just as long as it does not come to a boil.

Dissolve the Fels Naptha first. It will be a lot easier if it’s ground into tiny pieces. I like to use the food processor. Cut it into fairly small chunks and let the food processor grind it into powder.

You’re only going to need 2/3 of the bar. A bar is 5oz, so if you have a kitchen scale, you can measure out 3.3oz and bag the rest for a future batch.

Dissolve the soap. Then add the other ingredients. Compared to the soap, the rest should dissolve quickly and easily.

Once everything is dissolved, dump it all in a 5 gallon bucket. Then add enough water to get the total solution to 4 gallons. I have a mark on the inside of my bucket, and just fill to the line.

The solution will need to sit overnight. When it’s done, there will be a few inches of thick gel on the top, and liquid below. I mix it all together as good as I can. I use a large paint mixer that attaches to my drill. Get it as homogenous as possible. Once mixed, it can be put into smaller containers and stored for future use.

As for containers, I’ve found that some work much better than others. Milk jugs don’t work very well. They tend to spring leaks over time. The best containers I’ve found are orange juice jugs (the plastic ones, not the cardboard ones.) They eventually tend to spring leaks too, but I do have some that I’ve been using for several years, so they’re fairly reliable.

I also have some large, 5 gallon jugs my dad got me. I don’t know where he got them, but he tells me they’re for food-grade phosphate. He does residential water treatment, and gets the phosphate for equipment he sells and installs.

Use

To use, shake up the container before each use, as the liquid will tend to separate.

We usually use about a half-cup per load of laundry.

This DOES work in front-loading, high efficiency washing machines. It is low-sudsing.

My wife does most of the laundry, but when I do a load, I treat it like any other detergent, and fill the liquid detergent reservoir in the machine to the fill line.

Once you’ve used this, and get used to the process of making it, you’ll find it’s as good as the store-bought stuff. It’s much cheaper though. A bar of Fels-Naptha is about $1.50, and you might use $1 worth of the other ingredients in each batch. That brings the cost to roughly 60ยข per gallon. If you’re used to paying nearly $20/gallon for Tide, you’ll love this stuff.

Angels and an Empty Tomb

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as {the women} were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, {the men} said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.” – Luke 24:1-9 NASB

The most bewildering question a sinner can ever face is why God would become a man and die in his place. Not only did He die in our place, but he rose glorious from the dead on the third day, defeating death and the grave once and for all, and proving that He has the power to fulfill the promise to raise us with Him at the close of this dark age.

I glory in my Lord; who, for reasons I can’t even imagine, chose me from among sinners, called me out, and rescued me from certain doom. He suffered my fate on my behalf, and reconciled me to Himself and His Father, that I might know Peace.

To God be the Glory, for He is risen indeed!

Amazing!

I find Autistic people such as this guy to be fascinating!

While You’re At It

This idea came to me in the form of an email that has apparently been circulating. When you send out Christmas cards this month, be sure to send one to the ACLU. Make sure that it is clearly Christian, but not intentionally offensive (don’t write anything that is mean-spirited). Here is the address provided in the email, I did a whois search on aclu.org and it appears to be legit.

ACLU
125 Broad Street,
18th Floor,
New York, NY 10004

It’s like my dad likes to say “Kill ’em with kindness.”

Happy Thanksgiving

Ok, I’m three days late on this, but I just saw/found this:

Goodbye iTunes

This is way cool, Wal-Mart is now selling music downloads in mp3 format. That means no copy protection!!! Now, I’m not advocating piracy by any means, but I prefer to be able to do what I want with my music. That means having different formats. Actually, mp3 is the best because just about everything supports it. Nothing is worse than buying music that is so loaded with copy protection that it’s barely usable. And the thing is, most of the time there are ways around it, like burning to CD and re-ripping (I know, you lose some quality, but it’s worth it to have the freedom to move your music around without fear of losing access to it.)

I’m no lover of Wal-Mart, but mostly because I get annoyed by the other customers, who tend to be more clueless than the average Target customer. However, if I can shop Wal-Mart without ever setting foot in a store, I have no problem with them.

McMovie

After work today, I stopped by McDonalds to treat myself to a chocolate shake. As I did, I noticed their new movie rental machine. Pretty cool, $1/movie/night, all new releases.

My wife and I had to run an errand or two, and I mentioned to her that I saw this machine. She thought it was a bit strange (but cool), and wanted to see it. On the way home, we swung into the local McD’s so she could see for herself. As we got in there, we saw that they had a guy in to service the machine. He explained a little how it works, and showed me the inside, since it was already opened.

Before we left, he offered us a little tip. While checking out, it will ask if you have a promo/coupon code. Two codes that will give you free rentals are “happy” and “meal”. What’s cool is that it ties your rental to a credit card that you swipe, so as I understand it, you can get two free rentals for every credit card you use.

This is a somewhat limited thing. He said they have them all over the Twin Cities, and also mentioned St. Louis and Houston. They have 900 machines in McDonald’s restaraunts in total, and are putting in more all the time.

At $1/movie, I can see why Hollywood is crying about decreased theater ticket sales. I’d much rather sit in the privacy and relative quiet of my own home than go to a theater that charges $8 with a tall guy sitting in front of me and a kid kicking my seat behind me, along with cell phones ringing and sticky floors, while being charges $4 for a Coke and $3 for a box of Dots.

Europe/Africa From Space

I’m calling fake, but I still think this is a pretty cool picture. My boss sent it to me.

I just don’t buy that there would be such a stark difference, rather than a more gradual line from light to dark. What really raises my suspicions are seeing the trenches and rifts in the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Job Opportunity

Google is offering jobs on the moon.

While I’d like to do it, I don’t think my wife would let me go :(.

Remember This…

… next time you hear that “studies show”.