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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap (and use less plastic)

Just add water to these three inexpensive ingredients.

Grate 1/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha laundry bar soap.

Melt the grated Fels Naptha with 6 cups of water in a pan, then add 1/2 cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, and 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax, stir until dissolved then remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into a bucket, add the soap mixture and stir well. Then add 1 gallon, plus 6 cups of water to the mixture.

Let the soap sit for 24 hours, it will somewhat gel. Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. Store the laundry soap in an empty laundry jug. Just think you will never have to recycle or throw away another large plastic laundry jug instead you can reuse the one you have! Total time to make this concoction - 20 minutes. I found this recipe at there you will also find the calculations used to figure the cost per load - approximately 1 cent!!!

July 7, 2010 - Update on Homemade Laundry Soap
I have used the soap for almost two weeks and I have been pleased with it's performance. Clothing is clean, smells fresh, and no one has complained about any skin irritation. I have adjusted the amount used per load of laundry to 1/4 cup because we have a front load washer that uses less water per load.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Silent Auction

My sister Marika is holding a silent auction to raise money for medical expenses for a man she knows. Many neat items are available at the silent auction, I donated a hand quilted baby quilt, pictured above. To visit the silent auction go to then select "silent auction". In addition to the silent auction Marika is selling all Jimmy John's subs for $3 each during lunch on June 23rd - $1 from each sale will be donated to the medical fund and a local business will match the monies collected! Be sure to visit the West Jefferson location of Jimmy John's on June 23rd.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last night we went to the graduation for the class of 2010 - it was a nice ceremony, and we were very proud of our own graduate Benjamin! Afterwards we came home and celebrated with family, we enjoyed pizza and cake, Ben had requested his favorite cake, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, covered in m&m's, it was a pleasant evening.

It was eight years ago that our oldest child, Matt, graduated from highschool, I remember saying, "one down, three to go!", well last night made it three down, one to go, daughter Emily will graduate in 2012.

How time flies, it seems not so very long ago that we had four youngster running around the house keeeping us busy, and now they are all grown up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Are you a JOYFUL Christian?

View 1
Do you see the wonder of creation in everything?
Do you seek to see Christ in everyone?
Do you offer praise and thanksgiving to God?

View 2
Do you complain about your lot in life and wallow in self-pity?
Do you only see faults in others?
Do you continually bring your "wish list" to God in the form of prayer?

The other morning I heard a brief meditation on the radio, in summary, it was a story aboutf a woman who stood before Jesus and asked, "I want my life to make a difference", Jesus replied, "I don't give fruit, only seeds". The message is that each of us are given all that we need from God, but it is up to us how we choose to use those gifts. We can do nothing, and bear no fruit, or we can use our gifts and bear much fruit. As the Gospel tells us, we reap what we sow.

As Christians we should be JOYFUL, not a fake happiness, but a JOY infused in our soul because we know the Love and Mercy of God and we see God working in all aspects of our life. We are JOYFUL because we know God is with us!

We all know people who have faced tought situations in life, some remain joyful throughout, and others wallow in self-pity. When my mother-in-law was dying of cancer, she never talked about her pain, she never complained, she always had a smile on her face, and she spent a lot of time in prayer - when the end was near she said she was ready to go. My father-in-law lovingly took care of Sharon, went with her to all of her treatments, sat with her when she needed him, and never complained and lovingly took care of everything. My in-laws were truly an inspiration and an example of coping with a difficult situation with grace and dignity.
On the flip side are those who always take a "woe is me" attitude to everything that happens to them in life, these people tend to use absolutes in the way they talk about their life - such as, I never, I always. A lot of time is wasted comparing what they perceive that they don't have compared to others, such as, "I never get to go on vacation, everyone else does", when you hear a person speak like this it sounds childish. This "woe is me" attitude is really a way for a person to avoid responsiblity for their situation - they choose to see only what they can't do and choose to never see what they can do. We must use the talents God has blessed us with and bloom where we are planted.

How are you going to use the gifts you are blessed with today?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blessed Franciscan Morning!

Our diocese received a new bishop last fall, one of the first things Bishop Rhoades did was to move a group of Franciscan Brothers to Fort Wayne. The brothers moved to a closed parish and are in the process of repairing the church building, they live in the old rectory. The brothers all wear homemade, traditional franciscan robes - a long brown robe made of rough fabric - they do not wear shoes and go barefoot most of the time. The church building is in rough shape, it is usable so the brothers are "rebuilding the church"; how Franciscan is that ??? The building is old, when the parish closed the pews were removed and taken to another parish, the stained glass windows are beautiful and appear to be in good shape, the floors are solid but rough and the paint is peeling everywhere. The brothers do NOT accept money, but will take food donations, using what they need and re-donating elsewhere if they do not need the items. Pretty COOL!!

Today the brothers started the first of First Saturday Devotions - it was attended by about thirty people. This simple, prayerful time, started with Mass, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, some quite time for personal prayer and adoration, recitation of the rosary, followed by a reflection on the mysteries of the rosary, then benediction and dismissal.

When I arrived the brothers were waiting in front of the church and in the parking lot to greet visitiors and direct us inside. How very joyful and excited the brothers were to welcome us to this first, of hopefully many, devotions.

When I walked into the church there were no pews, just a hodge podge of benches and folding chairs, I quickly spotted my franciscan brothers and sisters from Holy Family Fraternity, and sat with them. I was impressed by the brothers, some young, some old, all seated together, all dressed in brown robes, most with long beards, all with bare feet.
Afterwards the brothers gathered outside to visit with us. I spoke with Brother Lawrence Mary Guadalupe, he has been with the brothers for eight months, prior to joining he was a carpenter and handyman. A pleasant young man originally from rural NY. Based upon the amount of repair/carpentry work to be done Brother Lawrence will be busy for a long time! Some brothers are college/university educated, some are not, all are joyful and happy to part of the community.
As an SFO (secular Franciscan order) I am a very excited that we have this group of Franciscan brothers living in our midst - I will definitely be attending the First Saturday Devotion on July 3!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Around the house

Garden Update
We are still planting! We have had so much rain that it has been a challenge to get things planted in a timely manner, we hope to finish this weekend. We have about a hundred potato plants up, rows of onions, peas, beets, and greenbeans are growing rapidly. The lettuce I planted has not come up yet. Forty-eight tomato plants are in, and we will finish putting out the pepper plants and the cucumbers. I picked the first of our strawberries yesterday, we will not have nearly as many berries as we had last year, I think partly due to a couple of very late frosts. A cherry tree we planted five years ago bore fruit this spring, there were not many cherries, but the few we ate were very nice! The peach tree has about 100 little peaches on it, hopefully some of them will make it to maturity.
I spent some time yesterday afternoon weeding, a horse shoe hoe makes clearing weeds a cinch. Grandson Henry ran around the gardens with his plastic hoe and rake and had a good time playing in the dirt and eating strawberries while his Mommy and baby brother Patrick watched.

Sewing Update
I finished a quilt for new Grandson Patrick. I am currently working on a quilt to donate to a silent auction fundraiser, the proceeds will go to assist with medical bills for a man with cancer. A local Walmart is getting rid of it's fabric department, initially the fabric was marked down 25%, then 50%, and now 75%, although the reduced prices are nice I am disappointed that they will no longer be selling fabric. I have stocked up on fabric for several projects, Henry and Patrick have new matching shirts, and will have a few more over the next weeks, Dave has one new shirt, and one to be made.

Family Update
Son, Benjamin, will graduate from high school next Friday, he plans to attend a local college in the fall. Ben doesn't want an open house for graduation, he would prefer to have a bonfire with friends a little later in the summer. We want to celebrate his graduation with friends and family, but are fine with skipping the whole "open house" thing - instead we have invited close family and friends to enjoy some pizza and refreshments with us following the commencement excercise.
Daughter Emily left yesterday, with her friend Katie, for a four week visit to Europe, the girls will be travelling from Venice to Amsterdam with my parents, staying in campsites all along the way - it sounds like a wonderful trip - and one that they will both always remember. I am being an anxious Mom this morning, they are due to land in Venice any minute, I was up at four this morning to check the United website to make sure that they landed safely in Munich, they did, and I just checked the website again and they have landed in Venice, I should be getting a phone call shortly! Phew!!! The girls will be exhausted, they left at three-thirty yesterday afternoon, and arrived at their final destination at six-thirty this morning, which is twelve-thirty in the afternoon Venice time. Ahhh, life in a tent for four weeks!!