Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some people are above bribery...

I however - AM NOT.

Andra is a REALLY GOOD reader.

When she HAS to be.

She is not the kind of child that likes to sit down and read for fun.  For a child as easily distracted and NOSEY as she is - its almost torturous to expect her to sit and pay attention to the book in front of her.

The library here offers incentives for reading (If you read 8 books, 800 pages or for 8 hours they give you things like coupons for things, cheap plastic toys, a chance to enter drawings for cool stuff, blah blah blah).  That stuff seemed awesome when she signed up, but when it actually came time to sit down and READ the books that we checked out - it didn't seem to be incentive enough to keep her attention.

My solution???
$1.00 for every chapter book read in 4 days or less.
When I first mentioned the $1.00 per book, I saw her eyes float across the room to Lane's little preschool board books and the $$$$ lighting up her little blue eyes.  I needed to make sure I was paying for age appropriate books.  I added the 4 day stipulation, because Andra has only ever finished 2 chapter books that weren't required for school in her life  (seriously) - we are working on "FINISHING" stuff.

So believe it or not, she has read 6 books so far and I do owe her $6.00.  It takes a lot of "encouragement" and "reminders" to get it done, but at least she has FINISHED something. AND, the haggler tried to get me to give her an extra buck for reading a longer book the other day (it was 190 pages instead of the usual 80 or less that Junie B Jones books are...  THATS MY GIRL! ;)  )

Then she told Lane she is getting money for reading.  He wants money now too.  Though his idea of reading a book is opening it, looking at about 3 of the pictures on the pages and asking to play Wii.  He is happy with change (And not the Obama kind...)

What do you do to get your kids reading??

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homemade laundry detergent - does it really work!???!

I'm going to say YES it does...

I got this picture from another mom at Pre-K.  Apparently my son was LOVING this ice cream cone...

It happened to be his grandparents day to pick him up and feed him lunch..  They picked him up from his AM class and changed his shirt, and gave him a washcloth bath (including getting chocolate ice cream out of his ear canals) before his PM class. 
They warned me that there was a chocolate covered shirt in my living room that would need attention, but I forgot all about it.  For atleast 2 days that Chocolate ice cream set in before I got off my butt had time to clean my living room.

This was the shirt before going into the washer.  No pretreatment, just tossed the very dry shirt in the washer.

This was the shirt after washing.

Not perfect, you can still see a few shadows of chocoate stains..  But NOT BAD considering how long it sat with out attention!

Home made laundry detergent ROCKS!

Homemade laundry detergent

*I started this post on 5/24/2010 - it just took me this long to upload pictures and finish the post.  How lame is that!??

I want to give credit, where credit is due.  I did not come up with this recipe,  I just followed THIS TUTORIAL.
I *LOVE* Craftster.
I *LOVE* Making Things.
I *LOVE* Saving Money.

Here is the break down on the cost of 4 gallons of laundry detergent.
A 5 gallon bucket with lid  (made in the USA, from Walmart) $3.29
A box of Borax  $3.59
A box of Washing Soda $2.99
A bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap $1.29

$11.16 is not bad for 4 gallons of laundry detergent, but the best thing is.  I don't have to buy another 5 gallon bucket, I can reuse the one I bought over and over and over and over..
And, I only used one cup each of the Borax and Washing Soda, so I can use those boxes many times over as well..  The next 4 gallons of laundry detergent will cost me $1.29 for the bar of laundry soap!

Now my initial review of this laundry detergent: 
Mine didn't turn out quite like hers did.  She lives in a cooler/dry climate.  I live in Oklahoma, the armpit of the US.  Its hot and incredibly HUMID here.  I really think that is what made the difference.

My laundry detergent didn't "gel" like hers showed.  Mine looks more like a thick Egg Drop Soup.

I kept a detergent container from the last time I bought detergent (one of the concentrated ALLs).  Since mine didn't gel, I fill it about 3/4 of the way up, top off with water, and shake well (She used a dilution rate of 50/50)..  I use the same measurements as the bottle of All would have me use.
I do have a front loader washer, which requires you use an HE soap - and this works BEAUTIFULLY.  Borax's new box even says its HE approved. 

I've really liked it so far!  Our clothes are just as clean as they are with the commercial products, it has not aggravated anyone's skin, our clothes smell fresh and  clean...

I'm sure I'll have a "real" test soon...

A few tips if you are interested in trying...
1.  You can often get lidded 5 gallon buckets free from places like Walmarts or Sam's Club bakeries - they get their frosting in those buckets and often just toss the out.  It wouldn't hurt to call and ask, and save yourself $3.50!  (I didn't because I did this on a Sunday when the bakeries were closed and I didn't want to wait a day for them to open to call and ask.)
2.  Borax can be found at Target.  I also found it at several little mom n pop type grocery stores, Williams grocery store in Choctaw, Ace Hardware, Homeland, and King Soopers (Kroger).
3.  Washing soda is NOT the same as Baking Soda.  I found Washing Soda at a couple of the mom n pop type stores, Williams in Choctaw, Homeland, and King Soopers (Kroger).  Target did not carry it.  Ace Hardware didn't have it in store, but they had it on their website and would ship it to the closest store free.