Let the Journey Begin

It is now time to do what I have desired and dreaded to do for a long time now: update my poor forsaken blog!

There are a number of reasons for the long absence, but the most significant is that it has become very clear that though I began this blog with a vision to minister to other young wives & mothers by sharing things that have helped me in perspective & practice, in truth I have nothing to offer and everything to learn. Everything.

Additionally, I’ve gone from keeping a home and trying my level best to switch to healthier ways of eating & living, more efficient ways of cleaning & keeping up with house & children, to a situation where there is a lot of blessing, but also a lot of change. I don’t have my “own” kitchen right now, and have really faltered in adapting successfully to this temporary arrangement. (So, simply, I don’t feel like much of a home keeper). Right when I began to though, when the flow of the day included enough to keep me busy enough to not be nauseated by eating the bread of idleness, a most joyous and welcome wrench was thrown into the attempt: morning sickness! 🙂

After an early miscarriage in June, during which pregnancy I never had a hint of symptoms (though for me they usually start within a week after conception), I am overjoyed to be feeling so yucky so often now–a wonderful indicator of a healthy baby. For those of you that are wondering, I’m 9 weeks today. 🙂

Because of my history of post partum hemorrhage, this pregnancy is going to be a true journey, both physically/emotionally & spiritually. There’s a lot of good advice to sift through and figure out what to do with–what would be the most beneficial, and what we just won’t be able to manage. One thing I need a very good dose of is commitment. Those areas of change that I can manage must be done consistently. This is so hard for me, and I don’t really know why. It’s a terrible character flaw, and is often enough even a sin. It’s easy to jump into something that’s “new” and promises good return. But the newness wears off so fast, and difficulty becomes more apparent, and then I give up.

The regimen I have pretty much decided on includes:
–Reading the Word of God every day, even if it’s just a little bit. Starving one’s self of life is never a good thing!
–A qt. of red raspberry leaf tea infusion every day
–A qt. of nettles/oatstraw infusion every day (when I can manage it again, aversions kicked in against those recently)
–A pint of raw milk every day (when we get the cow share)
–An hour of walking and/or exercising at least 5 days a week
–Adding probiotics from either homemade sauerkraut or kombucha into my daily diet (slowly, so as not to endanger the baby from the die off of bad bacteria and toxins released, as they would cross the placenta)
–Eliminate MOSTLY all processed sugar (I say mostly, because I don’t know if I can commit to not having any ice-cream ever) 🙂

There’s more too that I’m considering, but these are the big ones. What would you add? If you’re a healthy person or you’ve had a healthy pregnancy/birth (especially after a previous difficult one) please share any insight you may have–I would be indebted to you.

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“She seeketh wool” — DIY — wool dryer balls

As the warmer months approach here’s another DIY thing to consider: wool dryer balls. It’s exciting too, how this fits in so perfectly with one of the current endeavours: “she seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands”.

I hadn’t even heard of wool dryer balls until quite recently, but they act as a fabric softener and theoretically as an energy saver as well. There’s some divided opinion about that. Some people swear by them–have their dryer time cut by 50%–others don’t detect a difference at all. I think it may just have to do with the volume of balls you’ve got in your dryer. 😉 Some people use up to a dozen for large loads!

Back a few months ago I was all set to order some wool from a friend but since shipping was going to be more expensive than the wool I decided against it. Then while shopping at JoAnn’s I spontaneously bought a couple skeins of fisherman’s wool with 50% and %40 off coupons. It made 4 balls and *still* cost me about $12 to make. One thing I can say for sure is that they are wonderful for softening clothes. Commercial fabric softeners are filled with harmful chemicals and aren’t good for your dryer either, so I hadn’t been using anything, and definitely noticed a difference right away when using these. Not sure about the drying time yet.

After spending what I did and then going back to find out what the price for wool plus shipping would be to get unwashed wool from my friend I’ve realized it will be much less expensive to go ahead and get some from her, even with shipping being what it is. I wasn’t keen on the idea of having to work much with the wool before using it, but in consideration and remembrance of this verse “she seeketh wool…and worketh willingly…” I’m so excited to make the plunge! especially if it means we will spend less on energy for running the dryer and the a/c to compensate for the dryer.

Some of you are way ahead of me and are already only hanging out all your clothes. Can’t save more on dryer time than that! My man is going to put up a new line for me (last one broke), but if you have a dryer I still encourage getting at least enough wool for a few balls, for the softening it will do for your clothes if you simply toss them in for an hour on the “no heat” setting before hanging them out, since hanging clothes out usually means stiff clothes! I’m also still planning on making my dozen balls so that I can use them on rainy days or terribly busy days where hanging them out just isn’t an option.

When I’ve got my dozen I’ll be sure and let my captivated (I’m sure!) audience know how well they work on cutting dryer time. 😉

For a picture tutorial on how to make your own dryer balls from yarn, go here. I’ll be doing a good deal of searching to learn how to process wool into roving, and for anyone interested in that process and knowledge will share about that once I have figured it out and executed it. So excited about blessing my husband by saving where I can!

Can any of you think of ways to save more money by conserving energy, or other ways?

Do any of you have experience with wool dryer balls? How do they work for you? Is your dryer time reduced?

Wash day–Laundry Soap recipe

All right, ladies! A new week of work is beginning after a wonderful day of rest and worship.  Sundays aren’t always so restful, but this last one was, and I hope yours was as well. Now, then! Time to roll up those sleeves. “Monday is wash day” according to our foremothers, so paying deference to their wisdom it will be mine as well (though laundry is still done throughout the week).  Gather up all those towels and sheets, the dirty socks under the bed, and any/all baskets of laundry about the house, and get started as early as possible, because ironing takes place today, too.  And bathrooms. Yes, admittedly, I never did those bathrooms last time (at least I only said “they needed doing” and not that I would do them! because conveniently there wasn’t enough time to after the laundry was folded before dinner needed starting. What a shame. Do any of you out there like to clean bathrooms??  Can you teach me how? to like it, I mean? Or, would you come over and do it for me? 🙂

Since it’s laundry day, I’ll share my recipe for all natural laundry soap; it’s very, very cheap!  A good friend of mine gave me a recipe a while back, and I’m so grateful she did, because homemade laundry soap had just never even crossed my mind before then, and it’s so economical! If you have never made your own laundry soap I do hope that this post inspires you to do so, because

  1. it’s a money saver
  2. it’s done in bulk, so you don’t have to worry about running out for a long time
  3. it’s free of synthetic fragrances and other harmful chemicals present in commercial laundry detergent
  4. it’s satisfying to accomplish

While there are many recipes out there for laundry detergent the one I use and like the most is more concentrated than most you will find searching, which I like very well since I have hard water and need more umph, and because I like for it to last longer.

The ingredients are simple and few:

  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 4 cups grated natural soap (I use Kirk’s castile, you can get it scented or unscented (preferably unscented); CVS and Publix carry it)
  • 4 cups super washing soda (this is different from baking soda, you can find it in the laundry aisle at Walmart)
  • 4 cups borax (again, laundry aisle)
  • 4 gallons hot water

Put water on to boil, grate soap. When water is boiling stir in soap until it is all melted, and then let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Pour soap into a 5 gallon bucket and add the washing soda and borax.
Stir until it is all dissolved, add and stir in 4 gallons of water.
Pour into gallon jugs (leave a couple inches from the top, so you can shake it up effectively)

And that’s it! After several hours (overnight) it will thicken and gel, but not uniformly. The chunky globby look is normal. 🙂 Just shake it up, it’ll get pretty smooth. Granted it’s not my favourite job to make the stuff, it takes a bit of time, but it lasts so long it doesn’t have to be done often. The recipe I used for this says to use ¼ cup per load. I always use more because hard water requires that, and I usually have something wet (i.e. from a potty training accident or overnight pull-up over-maxed) but see what works for you. You won’t regret it!

Consider. If you can get away with using only ¼ cup: at 16 cups per gallon, and 4 ½ gallons, you have 72 cups. 72 cups x 4 is 288. You just made enough laundry detergent for 288 loads!

Additionally borax and super washing soda can be purchased for about $7.50 and the 3 bar soap-pack  for about $2.00 (plus you won’t be using it all) So for under $10 you’re set on laundry for the better part of a year! or at least a big part.

When I run out I’ll post up a picture tutorial of the process, but don’t wait until then to get started, because it won’t be for another couple months. 🙂
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Lest I deceive, I should disclose that the bulk of the material in this post was written last night, because I wanted it up earlier rather than later and still am not an early bird. “She riseth also while it is yet night” will be another focus for another month, I’ve already got “her candle goeth not out by night” down pat since it usually “goeth not out” by 12:59 ;). This month’s focus is “she doeth him good” and for me that means more cleaning and timely meal preparation.

So, let’s dedicate this brand new day and new work week to the Lord Who made it, with thankfulness and grace. Love that husband. Kiss that baby. Hug those children. There’s so much richness of good in the calling we’ve been given!

The Lord bless you with light and joy today, dear saints.

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