Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Talk and Tell: March 27, 2012

The following is a copy of James' Talk and Tell that he dictated to me this morning for school tomorrow. Just so you know, although my son is a genius (of course) he had some help with his extraordinary bug knowledge. We have a book about bugs entitled "Bugs A to Z." When he started talking about bugs (when he brought up the bug book, you'll see) he got this book out. He was flipping through it, looking at the pictures, and telling me all about the bugs he saw (from what he could remember; I wouldn't help him or add anything). He remembered quite a bit of stuff! He is quite fond of this book lately and gets pretty excited about all of the AWESOME bugs. (!!) Well, until he has nightmares about scary bugs... grr. :( Anyway, here's the excerpt. It's kind of long. He got just a little bit carried away. Bugs do that to the best of us...

Warning: Not all information below is accurate. :) But hey, he's four.


Talk and Tell - March 27, 2012

I have a rocketship spaceshuttle. And I've got two monster trucks. And I've got tire goo. And I've got two blue transformers. My friend Kona's got a big, yellow transformer. And Kona's got a big, big, big, big, BIG airplane toy. And Kona's got lots and lots of 'Maginext. And I've got a book about bugs.

Ants have pinchers instead of teeth. And if you bug a bee, it might be mean to you if you try to hurt its house. But it'll leave you alone if you just let it do its jobs. Dragonflies. I've seen a dragonfly before. And some other bugs eat poop (Dung Beetles). They eat animal poop. Then they roll it up in the dirt, and then they eat it. Fireflies: They can light up in the dark at night. Some worms can light... On the backs of some worms, they can light up at dark at night. And some other bugs have wings that are made of leaves (false). But the humans, they think it looks like BIG animal eyes, but it's just a kind of bug. Inchworms go "eh-er-eh-er-eh-er" (showing movement with hands). Some bugs can sing like a cricket, and it rubs its wings together at night. One bug is called a Mantis, and it can eat a one BIG bug like a frog. A Rhinoceros Beetle is the biggest bug and also the strongest bug, and it can carry a whole BIGGER bug. One spider (a Tarantula) can live everywhere, even in the dirt.

Scorpions, they have a big stinger on their tail. And they go "whhhishhh-pee" (whipping sound), and it stings you. Becca's sister Dena had scorpions in bed when she was little, and she was playing with them. And she got hurt. And they've got pinchers for their hands.

Named: Scorpions.

Xerces Blue Butterflies. They've been seen by their blue wings. And they've been EXTINCT. Water Striders, they are spiders that can walk on water, with their big legs to walk. Wasps look like bees, but they're not bees. They're jacket wasps. Some are jacket wasps, but some are just black wasps. Zebra Spiders.

I like bugs.

And some butterflies are black and blue.


Aaaaand, that's it. Kinda fun. And, you know, educational! ;)

PS. James says these pictures are for Uncle Bart because he's a scientist. We talked about that this morning. I told him that scientists like to learn about the world and the stuff in it. (Bart, I told him that you were a scientist that learned about our bodies. Hope that's acceptable.) I told James that someday he could be a scientist and learn all about bugs. He said no, that he wants to be an astronaut. But then he thought that maybe he could be an astronaut and learn about bugs that live in outer space! We decided that was a spectacular idea.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Baby

I texted the following to Derek (he was already at work; ugh, I know) at 6:47 this morning:

I just woke up to our little girl screaming DESPERATELY, "My baby! My baby! Peease! My baaaaaby!" I went in there, and she was up and out of bed and very desperately then firmly told me, "My baby! Light ON!" Apparently she had lost Baby....(insert sympathy-smile-while-internally-laughing-a-little-at-her-imtense-motherly-desperation-over-a-doll here). I promptly obeyed and flipped on the lights. Baby was in her bed. Jolie's whole body slumped with relief. She climbed into bed and grabbed that baby with a death grip. Then I covered her up, rubbed her back, told her I love her, and went out. Oh man! Gotta love that sweet, sweet little girl... :)

Note: These pictures of Jolie with her baby (named "Baby") were taken yesterday morning while we were snuggling in my bed. She's pretty cute, huh? Yeah... I kinda love her.

Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have officially become "domestic." I make my own soap. Well, laundry detergent to be more exact. I had seen ideas of it floating around the web and on Pinterest, and I eventually decided to give it a try. I am normally an uber snob about Tide. Nothing else, no generics, just Tide. I have tried other kinds of detergent and just feel like my brights aren't as bright and my whites aren't as white. Everything seems faded and older, if that makes sense. And I figure it's cheaper to buy more expensive laundry detergent than it is to replace my entire wardrobe prematurely. So I've stuck with Tide. Then one day, my Tide was all out. I went to Walmart to buy some more (I prefer getting it from Sam's, but our membership ran out), but when I got there I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices. I know, lame. But true. So I put it off. And then I did it again the next shopping trip. So eventually, making my own detergent seemed less daunting than making a choice. So I did that instead. :)

I first tried the powdered version. It seemed like much less work, and we are accustomed to using powder. But I wasn't happy with the results. The powder didn't dissolve well in the wash, even putting it in pre-clothes, and our clothes ended up with greasy spots on them (which would wash out if we rewashed the clothes, but really- who wants to rewash?). So I gave up on the homemade detergent idea for a while. But then it was time to choose detergents again, and I approached the idea again. Ha.

I eventually found this recipe on the blog called "One Good Thing by Jillee." This Jillee character really knows her stuff. If you're interested in DIY homemakey sorts of things, peruse her blog. You will come away inspired! Anyway, I mostly followed her tutorial and her "recipe," but I altered it a bit- making less at one time and adding OxiClean (which was it's own little adventure, the dang explosive stuff).

Without further ado, here is the "recipe" and tut. Enjoy. And seriously let me know if you try it and what you think. Here 'goes:

RECIPE: Homemade {Liquid} Laundry Detergent

Yield: 2 gallons (about 64 loads)

Large soup pot
Plastic {silicone?} spoon/stirring device
4 old 64-oz juice containers

2/3 bar Fels-Naptha (3/8 oz), grated
2/3 c. Borax
2/3 c. Washing Soda
2/3 c. OxiClean

1. Get out a large soup pot. Fill pot 1/3 way with hot tap water. Put in grated Fels-Naptha. Heat, until fully-melted (high heat at first, then med... this stuff doesn't make crazy-suds like the other stuff does).

Grated Fels-Naptha
Fels-Naptha in Water
Fels-Naptha in Water (again)
2. Reduce heat to low-med. Add Borax and Washing Soda, a little at a time, stirring.

This is about how accurate I am when measuring.
3. Remove from heat (this is important, the OxiClean is crazy suds-wise... go slowly here). Add OxiClean a LITTLE BIT at a time, waiting a good amount (30 sec minimum) before adding more, stirring slowly.

4. Using a funnel, pour/ladle soap into containers- just get the same approximate amount in each.

5. Let rest/cool a bit. Then add water, shake, add water, shake. After you shake, tap the stuff down and open (slowly) the lids. If they're tight, the stuff just expands and tries to make your containers pop. The pressure needs to be able to release for a while.

Just added (My OxiClean went a little nuts...
I was impatient, go figure... so I had to dump the
stuff in quicko-fasto. Hence the labels still on, etc.)
6. After a few hours, screw the lids on tight. Your Homemade Laundry Detergent is now ready to be used!

Taken just now... I probably should add
more water to these babies. Hm...

Oh, and the one on the left was just shaken
up. They separate normally, which is fine.
Just shake the container a bit before measuring
and adding detergent to your laundry load.
**When ready to do a wash, start the water. Shake up your container, then pour in 1/2 c. of detergent. Add laundry, and wash/dry as usual. (I'm pretty sure this stuff will work just fine in HE washers, as it barely suds, but you'd certainly use less. Check out Jillee's post (my original source) for more info; there's likely info for this in the comments.) Good luck!

PS. As a quick FYI, I just googled the cost of the (powdered) Tide that I had previously used, and it was about $21 for a box of 120 loads. That comes out to be about 18 cents/load. Not bad. But then I looked on Jillee's blog comments and saw that someone had calculated that her recipe came out to be about 64 cents a gallon. Add about 14 cents to that for my OxiClean, and my homemade laundry detergent comes out to be ONLY 2 1/2 CENTS PER LOAD!! Pennies, people, pennies! Certainly worth the 30 minutes in the kitchen every few months! Sweet. Now I feel even better about this whole thing. Way to go, Domestic Diva self... Way to go. ;)