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Because I know you were sad upon finishing my post yesterday—probably like a great book you didn’t want to end, right?—I’ve decided to write a little more about this laundry detergent.

 

If you’re anything like me, first of all, I’m sorry. Secondly, you will have laundry room cupboards filled with potions and elixirs, powders and pastes. You will have spent oodles of dough on this brand and that, in the hopes that the next one will fulfill all of its wickedly wondrous promises. You will have hoarded all of the failed jars and bottles, believing that one day…someday…you will put them to good use. And to think some have called me a pessimist! Tsk, tsk.

 

My point being, this sud-up makes sense. It took me 15 minutes to make, it’s great in hot, warm or cold water and works like a charm in regular and he machines, not to mention it will last anywhere from 6 months up to a year depending how many are in your household.

 

Pop it directly into your top or front-loading drum and prepare to inhale an angel-infused breeze and the fresh mountain air all in one sniff. It combines the many things we go out and buy individually, bringing them together in a fresh, fragrant, fusion of squeaky bubble goodness. I spent a total of approximately $30 on ingredients and splurged $20 for the jar.

 

Hey, the jar is not only reusable, forever and ever, but it had a lot to live up to. Remember the tea and red satin heels? I needed a nice jar!

 

It is also important to note that any storage container can be used and that those Downy Unstopables are solely for scent, thus, are also an optional spend. Feel free to leave them out if you hate angels and mountains. And, needless to say, if you don’t like pretty, stuff a sock in your crafty self’s glue gun and leave it all plain Jane.

 

So whether you want to save money or brag about your domestic superiority, this is worth a try. Heck, if you have doubts, I hazard to propose they will all be washed away.

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Pull those strings in real tight ‘cuz I am about to take you on an adventure that might just blow your hat off.

 

Are you ready?

 

Laundry Soap.

 

Yes, I made my own, silly me, and I’m going to share the entire process with you, right here, right now.

 

Well, right after this blurb…

 

While I am grateful to have a laundry room, mine is not a favorite place in my home and the cause for this is probably not what you’re thinking. I don’t mind doing laundry. At times, I even find it relaxing, but my actual laundry room is kind of demotivating. It’s very small—and even that’s okay—but it is not ergonomically configured. I have to contort to get everything into my front-loader and I sport a permanent bruise on my left hip where it inevitably hits the counter top which never fails to jut intrusively into my narrow path.

 

The room is awkward…and it’s blue…like, early 80’s blue…including the angry countertops, so yeah, not my favorite spot to hang out. And I guess I believed that somehow making my own fresh-smelling, pretty-looking powder would transform the room into some place I might like to have a cup of tea while perusing Vogue or maybe sway to a little Van Morrison in my red satin heels.

 

That transformation didn’t take place of course, but the good news is, the detergent was a success! It smells divine and having that gleaming jar perched atop my obnoxious counter, peering down its nose at the evil city below is slightly inspiring.

 

If you like to listen to music while you cook or work on projects around the house, it may be important to note that for reasons unbeknownst to me, I chose to listen to a Songza generated playlist entitled “Mom-Jean Jams.” Okay, maybe the reasons aren’t a complete mystery. I was making my own laundry soap after all. Thankfully though, I found it less than inspiring, so may I suggest something a little less baggy and high-waisted while you toil over your own magic suds?

 

Anyway, without further suspense, may I present…Laundry with Love

 

Ingredients

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

 

(I found most things at Fred Meyer, including the storage container. I bought the chalkboard labels & scoops at Hobby Lobby and Deals)

 

~ Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lb box)

~ Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (4lb box)

~ 20 Mule Team Borax (4lb box)

~ Oxi Clean (1.3 lb container X2)

~ Fels Naptha (X4 bars)

~ Downy UNSTOPABLES (X2 containers – I used the scent “Lush” which comes in the purple & black bottle and smells heavenly)

~ A food processor, blender or cheese grater

~ A large receptacle for mixing (I used a large Rubbermaid, but you may also use a simple plastic garbage bag)

~ A container to store the finished product

~ A measuring scoop

 

(This recipe makes approximately 2 gallons of washing powder. As you can see, it filled my one very large storage jar, plus 5 smaller ones)

 

Directions

 

~ Pour the boxes of Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax, Oxi Clean and Downy UNSTOPABLES into your receptacle

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

~ Cut the Fels Naptha bars into small cubes and process, blend or grate

Use an old cutting board

Use an old cutting board

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

~ Add the Fels into the powder mixture (I of course, did this the other way around because I don’t read directions. It really didn’t matter other than that the Fels is slightly sticky and would probably have been easier to blend had I added it last rather than first)

The blend

The blend

~ Put the lid on your receptacle or tie up your bag and shake like there’s no tomorrow. If using a bin you can also you use a large mixing spoon.

~ Repeat until all ingredients are evenly distributed

~ Use 2 tbsps for small loads and 3 for larger loads.

 

As you can see from the pictures, I got my craft on and prettied up the jars. This is optional, but if you choose not to go this route, well, what the heck is wrong with you?!

Scoop Me Up!

Laundry with Love

Laundry with Love

Fancy it up!

Fancy it up!

Homemade

Homemade

Gifts for everyone!

Gifts for everyone!

Okay, you are now ready to love your laundry!

**This recipe was recently found on APRONS-N-PEARLS**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I turned 45 last Friday.

 

Funny thing just now—my fingers went mysteriously rogue and plunked in 24 the first time ‘round.

 

Strange.

 

It’s not a marker birthday or anything. It’s not like 21 or 40, but it is half way to 90 and I’ll admit that’s been slightly mind-boggling for me. Is that even a possibility? Can you be slightly mind-boggled or is the very word itself a full-on admission of a complete and utter flabbergast?

 

Technically, it’s middle-aged. I’m at mid-point. I’ve officially crossed the line between what was and what will be. This half versus that half. That is, assuming I make it to 90. There’s always a chance I may not. In which case, I am more than half way through my life. How in the world did I get here?

 

And, what happens now?

 

I can remember stretching out on the sun-warmed carpet in my family room sixteen years ago and promising myself I’d publish a book by the time I turned 30. (Who hasn’t promised themselves that? I can hear you asking) I was 29 then. I didn’t make it. But in the sixteen years since, I’ve raised a family, worked and written a book, albeit terrible and unpublishable, it is a book nonetheless.

 

Well, I’ve had a week to unboggle and now that my head is clear, I’ve come to a place where I realize I’m not only content with my age, but overjoyed to arrive at it. This year has taught me that. I am the fortunate one. I got here. I did make it. My goals are still on the table. I get the chance to keep going. I’m lucky to wake with hope beside me. I can continue my journey with possibility.

 

I get to live.

 

And, of course, make my own laundry soap. Because I hear that’s what 45 year-olds do…

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Two years ago today…

As all good things must come to an end, I thought life with Rowan would go on forever. No, you’re not confused. You needn’t read that sentence again. It’ll still say the same thing.

You see, I’ve been known to remark once or thrice that she really must be the World’s Worst Dog. I haven’t hidden my rants or rages. My sputterings and spews have been no secret. I have openly complained and cried in frustration. I’ve fallen and forgiven for all to see. I’ve been a martyr at best.

You understand, right? I mean, she filled my life with insane and unnatural amounts of hair and stained my carpets to the brink of despair. She chewed up precious belongings and sabotaged our prized Wisteria. Her incessant howls cost us neighbors and got her ixnayed from our camping roster. She dragged garbage out over the floors and snatched lavish steaks off the barbie. Walks were harrowing horrors as she pulled and strained with all her might. She vanished when unleashed and ignored our frantic pleas for her return. Yes, without a doubt, she was the world’s worst dog.

But this week, she lay at my feet, panting and whimpering, immobilized and pained. Helpless.

And all I could remember were her ears flapping in the wind, her saucer eyes and her soppy, sweet demeanor. As my family spread out to sleep on the couches and the floor because she could no longer make the trip up to our rooms, I thought of the way she once guarded our house and made us feel safe. While we set our alarm for her 3am meds, I envisioned the way her legs splayed out to the sides as she scrambled to meet us each time we came through the door. While we hand-fed her a homemade turkey and quinoa mix with little sips of water, I wished for the once annoying click of her nails on the wooden floor. And as we changed out the cool packs soothing her collapsing neck, I swore I heard all the laughter she’d brought into our home over the last seven and a half years.

This week, she could do none of that. She simply lay, gasping, blinking, scared and scarred and I realized what I must’ve known all along. She wasn’t the world’s worst dog. She’d be my family’s best memory.

Rowan aka: Ro, Rowey, Rosa and The Ro Show January 23, 2006 ~ August 22, 2013

Rowan aka: Ro, Rowey, Rosa and The Ro Show January 23, 2006 ~ August 22, 2013

Note: Rowan was taken from us by an inoperable case of Intervertebral Disc Disease

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I’m not clinging to dear life by a fraying thread or anything, but I’m pretty sick right now. I have something akin to “Man Flu” and it turns out that that long mythicized illness can actually be a realistic kick in the teeth. I can’t sleep, my tongue is as hard (and I swear the same size) as a brick, my eyes won’t stop watering, my head, hammering and my sinuses think I bought stock in Kleenex tissues complete with lotion and aloe. Lotion and aloe. Really? But hey, my nose is appreciative.

 

So, upon the suggestion of my doting husband, I decided to take it easy yesterday. Get some rest, put my feet up and live the life of a well and truly undomesticated goddess.

 

My morning began at 7, when I got up (notice I didn’t say woke up) to make the kid’s lunches, but because my illness had started skulking its way in the previous night, there were dinner dishes and dirty counters to blast through before I could begin washing and chopping the veggies for my daughter’s daily (!) salad and hauling out the ingredients for my son’s Ciabatta bun, meat, cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo Deluxe. (We didn’t have any tomatoes, darn it)

 

Lunches made and order restored, I drove the aforementioned kids to school. Yes, they are high maintenance. Definitely think twice before creating one. And while making the trek to the school, I noticed that that indicator that always seems to plummet much too quickly was below the red line and decided to drive on ahead to the gas station. Because we live ten minutes from the border, we go down to the States to get our gas. It saves us $20 to $25 a tank. When I got back home, I threw in a load of laundry because, why not, and ran the vacuum over the front rug because I’m insane its perpetual coating of pine needles and dirt balls messes with my brain.

 

Later, as he pulled out of our sunny driveway to head in for a hard day’s work, my hubby cheerily waved and told me to add Rice Krispies to the grocery list. You know, in case I was going grocery shopping later…because…you know, why wouldn’t I?

 

I went grocery shopping.

 

This means that by 10am, I had ‘cooked’, cleaned, scrubbed, laundered, taxi’d, shopped and traveled abroad.

 

I think tomorrow, I’ll just go to work.

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No surprise, but I’m a daydreamer. It’s not an easy thing to hide. My school reports often cited that I tended to wander off without actually leaving the classroom, and seeing as I’m confessing it all, I may as well admit that I probably still wander off about a hundred and sixteen times a day.

 

But there was a period of time in my life where I was able to focus. You see I used to be this really good housewife. I was even, in fact, once accused of mirroring the likes of June Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver. I admit I didn’t see the resemblance back then, but I will say that I took my daily chores very seriously. They were always completed in a timely, organized fashion and no cupboard or corner was ever left unturned. The kids smelled good, unmentionables were folded, floors gleamed, toilet rolls were always miraculously placed on the holder and there was something fairly edible to eat at all the right times. The least of which is not that I somehow managed to perform all of these things with barely an eyelash bat.

 

So, why not now?

 

Now everything is Everest, its trails littered with obstacles and me, always looking to tunnel through the middle rather than suffering the long way ‘round. You know the drill. The perfectionist holds out—Oh, if I just give this a swipe and that a wipe I can hold off another week until I can do it…properly. These are the tall tales I tell myself. They are the bungees that bounce me up just before hitting the hard bottom of that long dark rabbit hole—It looks fine. It’ll do for now. No one notices anyway. But I notice. And I’m held in a state of unrest.

 

So, why don’t I just buck up?

 

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. And, it’s starting to sink in. There are just too many balls to buck. I can’t focus because I don’t know what my focus is anymore. Now that the kids are older, my plate is piled even higher with outside responsibilities that go beyond vacuuming and changing the bed sheets. Back when I was a young housewife with three small children, my role wasn’t in question. It was simply to serve and protect. And although serving and protecting will always be my heart’s work, the kids are vying for independence and with me on the precipice of 45, it seems only natural that I start to question whether there might be more to the meaning of my existence.

 

So back to my daydream. I was imagining what it would be like to step off the front stoop every morning to follow my fiction. To have nothing on my mind for the first eight hours of every day but fostering what it is I want to achieve. To write without distraction. To have someone running my family and my home, allowing me to work on making a success of myself. To be one of the chosen few who gets to concentrate solely on my goals and aspirations.

 

But daydreams aren’t always realistic. To truly triumph I must achieve whatever it is I want while living the life I’ve already made.

 

That’s victory. That’s genuine success.

 

That’s being a mom.

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The corner store is peeling, its peach paint rolling down toward the dirt, dodging a lifetime of being stuck in one place. Where, she wonders, will the wind take it once it’s free?

 

She sits in the front seat of her car, grappling a family size bag of Ruffles, her only company the small sprouts of green budding through the dryness of the earthy lot. Alone, but for the weeds, she needlessly slumps below the driver’s window and listens to the hum of the wheels bumping through on the small town road behind her. The content of the bag is finally released with one more pull and she closes her eyes, breathing in through her nose, savoring the first crack of salty chip.

 

Bump, bump, bump.

 

She twists at her ring, normally a mindless habit, but her fingertips are oily and she’s forced to be conscious of the now slick metal. Her thoughts slip with the ring, back to long ago. Long ago when his photos and the few things he’d left behind had scorched through the night. Roaring flames shot from her mother’s bonfire as she had watched in fear, her legs extended and toes sinking deep into the mattress on which she’d stood, her pudgy hands gripping the windowsill with all her might. The back yard, lit only by the blaze, looked scarier than she’d ever seen it and she was relieved a week later, when she and her mother were forced to move to a studio apartment with no back yard.

 

Bump, bump, bump.

 

Her graduation ring, the one whisper from her father in all the years that have passed since that fiery night, marks her finger like the black circle left on the grass at the old house. She wears it anyway. It’s what she has—the ring, the pale pink box, the envelope he’d scribbled over in seeping blue ink and the outline of his face as he’d said good-bye to her in the low glow of her bedside lamp one last time.

 

Bump, bump, bump.

 

She could’ve walked. The store was close enough to home but she refuses to be caught in the streets clutching a bag of grease. No, relaxed in her car, shielded by its metallic shell, she’s safe from judgment. She knows it’s not right. The eating with reckless abandon, and often recites the many reasons she shouldn’t, but the crunch between her teeth, the crackle of fragments lining her cheeks and paving her tongue, bring her a sense of comfort she can, only in this moment, grasp. It is as simple, and as complex, as that.

 

But for a split second, she knows that she is, in more ways than one, like the chip—simultaneously curved and flat, plain and sparingly seasoned. One clench away from cracking and crumbling, breaking, but most of all, consumed by the lost, the disappointed and the dismissed.

 

She thinks of her mother, run off her feet at the deli, calling out Next! to the numbers that will reach into the hundreds today. She pictures her standing on the crowded bus, smelling like meat, her feet and aching back making the trek uphill from the stop to the small studio apartment they still call home. She knows she will pour herself a glass of wine and a bath and sit in the too small tub, knees exposed, pretending she’s anywhere but here.

 

She imagines her father’s image slithering down the peach wall facing her and sees him being lifted by the wind. To where, she does not know, but envisions it to be, of course, anywhere but here.

 

May bites into another chip and wonders what it must be like to dodge a lifetime of being stuck in one place. Her thoughts are as simple, and as complex as that.

 

Bump, bump, bump.

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