Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GAK Update

I ranted too soon.  The boys LOVE the gak.  John just discovered it yesterday and he loves it too!  He found it all slimed out on the table and asked why I let them get it everywhere.  I didn't realize he didn't know what it was.  He started to "clean" it up right before dinner and realized there's nothing to clean up! Not nearly as messy as it looks.  Here are some pictures, though they are terrible because they are indoor with an ipod. 

Save Money - DIY Liquid Soap!

Pinterest.  My new obsession.  That site is seriously turning me into the thriftiest mother on the block.  While there are lots of different things you can look up for ideas (parties, weddings, recipes, crafts, etc...), my favorite thing has been to discover DIY household items or natural cleaning methods.

I just got done making 2 liters of liquid soap from one .97 cent bar of Yardley.  I was so excited that Yardley was the cheapest bar soap, because I really like the smell of the English Lavender.  I discovered later though, that I could have gotten it about .30 cents cheaper at Walgreens!  I'm still learning.  But, I can't complain about getting 2 liters of liquid soap for >$1!  Actually, if I had used the whole bar (you'll see in the recipe) than I would have had 3 whole liters.

I got the idea off Pinterest (of course!) but I believe the original source is Savvy Housekeeping. It is very simple.  1 cup of soap flakes, 10 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of liquid glycerin.  That's it!  Ok..well that's not it..it takes a *little* bit of elbow grease.

Take your favorite bar of soap (or any that you just have lying around) and grate it.  A regular sized bar of soap should give you a cup and a half of soap flakes.  Melt one cup of soap flakes in 10 cups of water over medium-low heat along with the glycerin.  Stir until it melts.  Take it off the heat.  It will be very watery.  It needs to cool down.  Mine is currently sitting in the fridge as I type this.  It is supposed to thicken up to a typical liquid soap consistency.  I'm pretty excited about it.  And I'm loving the smell of lavender in my house.
Intial cost was a bit more than if I had bought a jar of liquid soap, simply because I didn't have all the materials on hand.

2 bars of Yardley soap: $1.94
6 oz Glycerin: $2.98
2 jars (for holding all the extra soap) $3.94

For a total of a little over $8.  But I won't have to buy the jars again and I won't need the glycerin for a long time.  I only made 2 liters with my supplies today, but I have enough to make 4 more liters.  That's a lot of soap.  You do the math.  No, really.  You do it.  Because I'm terrible at math and there's no way I'm going to sit here and figure that out for you.  All I know, is it is a money SAVER!  And that makes me giddy.

Let me know if you're into these types of posts, and I'll post more about my money-saving-going-green adventures.  I love sharing this kind of thing, because it's so easy and who doesn't want to save money?

Update!  So the soap definitely thickened - to a snot-like consistency, which is what many of the readers of her blog had issue with,  It doesn't bother me so much.  I tried beating it to get it to a creamier texture, but it didn't seem to do much good.  Perhaps I didn't mix it long enough.  You can play around with it and see what you get!

I cut up the Yardley box and mod podged it to my plastic container to spruce it up a bit!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Super (cool!) Mommy

You know those pictures where moms are having a great time with their kids and the kids look peaceful and attentive and full of joy to be hanging out with their super awesome mom who can do such amazing things that the kids are just feeling SO lucky to just BE in her presence?

You know...these pictures?

Yeah.  I wanted to be *that* mom.  I tend to err on the side of strict, but I really do like to do fun, cool things with my kids.  But every time I try, it looks like this:

*sigh*  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  But I had a fool-proof cool mom plan today.  I was going to make GAK.  Oh yes.  I found the secret fomula to make that wonderful slimy mass of entertainment.  And really, what's cooler than Gak?  Other than making it yourself at home.  So I gathered my materials.  A bottle of glue and some borax.  Ooooh the boys were going to have so much fun!  Matthew was sleeping and Eric was on the computer playing educational games.  He passed by me once and saw me dumping a bottle of glue in a bowl, but didn't say a word.  I was glad he didn't take a lot of interest, because I wanted him to be surprised!  My excitement grew as I watched the gak form (as if I thought it wouldn't).  I am SUCH a cool mom!  I even made it green - their favorite color.  As I continued kneading it to get it the right consistency, I had visions of birthday parties where every kid could make their own gak and take it home.  Because that's cool.  When it was all ready, I called for Eric.

Me:  Eric!  Come here!
Eric:  What?
Me:  Come here!  I have something for you!
Eric:  *peeps through entryway* What is it?
Me:  Come touch it.  It's cool!
Eric:  No.  It's glue.
Me:  It's not glue.  Come feel it.  It's  fun.
Eric:  No.  It's sticky.
Me:  *getting frustrated at his lack of enthusiasm*  Well I will just save it for Matthew.  He will like it.
Eric:  Why will he like it?  What is it?
Me:  It's gak.
Eric:  I know.  But what is it?
Me:  *sigh*
Eric:  *returns to computer game without ever having entered the kitchen*

Parents think having a smart kid is fun.  You have no idea, people.  All I want to do is amaze me children with some glue and borax and all the boy wants to do is click on the ssssss sound on the computer.  I can make GAK for crying out loud!  My children should be at my feet, staring up at the wonder that is their mother!  *sigh* Mother fail again.  I'm second guessing trying to impress them with my 'cloud sand', but I'll probably do it all the same just so I can play with it.  Matthew hasn't seen the gak yet.  Maybe I will have better luck with him.  But I will have to sit and watch him with it and I couldn't moan and whine on here AND watch him at the same time.

For the others of you that want to attempt "cool mom" status, here is the recipe for gak.  Let me know what your kids think!

1 teaspoon borax powder
1 1/2 C water, divided
4 oz (1/2 C)  Elmer’s glue, clear or white
food coloring
Add borax powder to 1 cup of water and stir to dissolve.  Set aside.  Pour glue into a medium mixing bowl and add 1/2 C water. Add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached and then stir to mix glue solution until smooth.  Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture and watch the solids start to form.  Stir for a few moments and then use your hands to gather the mass.  The mixture will be very soft and wet.  Keep kneading until it firms up and feels dry.  Discard excess liquid in bowl. The more you knead and play with the slime the firmer it will become.  Store in a ziplock bag or air tight container and the slime will keep indefinitely.
I found it here at THIS BLOG which I found on Pinterest, which has tons of cool ideas that I am trying to employ every day.  If you decide to get on Pinterest and find cool ideas of your own, link to me so I can follow you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fender's Farm

Pictures from our 2nd annual fall trip to the farm!  Yes, I think this is going to be a yearly tradition.  We have a lot of fun and the farm had a lot of new changes this year, so I suppose they will always be adding new surprises!  This was Matthew's first time free from the stroller and he soaked every bit of it up.  Eric was a bit cranky and was NOT loving every part of it, but John DID wake him up from a nap so we could go.  I didn't have the time or patience to edit these pictures like I usually do before I post.  I took over 150 pictures and still had trouble narrowing it down, so there's a lot here!

They LOVED the giant slide!

They added these cows that you could "milk".  City boy John was a pro!  Matthew LOVED it!  He was very intent on the milking process.  He started standing, then decided to pull up a stool and really get to work.  It was so cute.  Eric was not thrilled we took him away from the slide...

John really wanted to do the corn maze this year.  We didn't do it last year because of the stroller and because Eric was still little.  Matthew loved that too.  He was excited to determine the twists and turns of the maze.  Eric cried the WHOLE. WAY. THROUGH.  I couldn't determine if he was scared or was just unhappy about having to walk through large stalks of corn as opposed to playing on the playground.  We ended up in a circle and back at the front, so I just took Eric out while Matthew and John tried to make their way through the whole thing.  I made Eric sit at the picnic table and wait for them.  We didn't have to wait long though.  Matthew chose the path once again and they ended right back up at the beginning again.

After the corn maze, we took them to the playground to get some energy out.

When the "hayride" was set to go we jumped on.  The hayride (minus the hay) takes you to another section of the farm where they have animals the kids can touch and feed, a giant jumping "thing" (that was new), a zipline, a corn kernel box, some slides, and a giant pipe swing.  We spent a lot of time here.

Matthew LOVED the animals.  No fear at all.  I was more afraid he was gonna smack one of those goats hard enough for it to react.  Eric?  He didn't touch the animals at all.

Next on to the jumpy thing.  I think the adults spent more time on this than the kids did.

(I love that  ^ picture!)

Matthew decided he had had enough jumping, so I took him to the corn kernel box.  I love this thing.  I wish we could set one of these up as opposed to sand.  

And the pipe swing

(He was getting sleepy ^)

Then it was time to head back to the other side again to watch the pigs race and see the pumpkins.  We had spent 2 hours here already!  We cook the little "pumpkin carriages" back.  It was a bit more bumpy than the hay ride and it made Matthew a bit more nervous, but he did great!

They played with some corn by the corn field and then they went to try to pick up pumpkins.  You know I can never get enough of those huggin' pics!  I'm going to keep telling them to do it until they refuse.