Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm laughing all the way to the bank... :-)

Over a year ago my family and I decided to make some cleaning products ourselves. We wanted to do this for a couple of reasons: 1) to save money, and 2) so we wouldn't have so many harsh, stinky chemicals to deal with. We found all kinds of things to clean with just vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. :-) We LOVED it.

Then, I began looking for other ways we save $ and make things ourselves. Several months ago I read a blog that talked about making your own laundry detergent. I immediately thought, "not for me. It sounds like too much work." So, I dismissed it.

Then, I found Gayle's blog, and she told how to make several things like fabric softener, window cleaner, etc. So, I tried the fabric softener. I loved it. :-) You will also recall that I made my own "detangler" using hair conditioner. I was hooked on the "make your own" thing.

One day I was watching the show "17 Kids and Counting" with the Duggar family, and I was once again introduced with the idea to make my own laundry detergent. I watched them do it on the show, and I thought, "That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought." So, I went to the internet and found this recipe on their site.

I purchased the ingredients, with a little grumbling of doubt from my family, and made my first batch. That was 2 months ago. Today I, finally, ran out and had to make a second batch of laundry detergent. I am now ready to report to you my findings. :-)

OK, overall cost for 1 batch (10 gallons) of soap was $1.86

A&H laundry soap - 10 cents

Borax 1 cent
Fels Naptha soap $1.75
I did not include shipping and tax

Regular soap approximately $3 a bottle. I did not include tax

This soap lasted us approximately 2 months, which means we would have spent $33 on regular laundry soap, because we filled the bottle 11 times. If we did that every two months for 1 year we would spend $198 on regular soap, and $11.16 on homemade soap, for a savings of .....

$186.84 a year!!

And, we don't have 11 plastic bottles to throw into the landfill. :-) Can you just imagine putting an extra $33 into your savings account every 2 months?
It adds up! The detergent works GREAT, and is VERY economical. Oh, and my family is no longer grumbling. :-)

Wendy Darling

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm Back :-)

I'm back from the Singles Leadership Conference. To say, "I had a good time and learned a lot" would be an understatement. It was that good. ;-) Grab a drink, sit back and let me tell you all about it. This could take awhile... :-)

First, 6 of us rode to Georgetown in a mini van together. That in itself was a lot of fun. I have only been a member of this church/Singles Dept. for about 2 years, so I am still really getting to know everyone. I had a wonderful time getting to know them better, and in turn they getting to know me. It was non stop laughing for the most part. :-)

We stopped and ate Mexican Food before registering at the church, and then going to the hotel. The food was amazing. ;-)

After reaching the hotel we all unloaded the van, helped everyone get their things to their room and decided we would play Farkle before going to bed. We all exclaimed, "just let us shower and get on our pj's and we'll be right there." My roommate and I showered, changed and got our things prepared for the next day. By that time, we were ready to just go to sleep. We went to the leader's room to let her know that we had changed our mind about playing the game, only to be told everyone else had the same idea.

We're a wild bunch I'm telling you. ;-)

So, we went back to the room and finished watching Twister on TV and fell asleep.

The next morning we all got up early and headed to the church. The theme for the weekend was "Extreme Makeover: Singles Edition", and to go with the theme of the weekend we were given a ministry opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity. It was a fantastic experience. There were about 30 volunteers, including the future homeowner. We got to learn all about the program of H4H, and work on her house.

I was able to help paint her shed and then help put up siding. I learned to use a nail gun. :-) Talk about POWER! :-) We were there for about 6 hours, and with all of the volunteers we were able to get A LOT accomplished. ;-) The homeowner was so sweet, and we were all truly blessed by the experience. The only drawback....

.... no one brought sunscreen, and I am a walking testimony to that fact. The arms? they are RED. Not quite as hot though and, surprisingly, I have not blistered. ;-)

We then drove back to the hotel where everyone had less than 1 hour to shower and change for the first session on Friday night. I still can't believe I showered, washed my hair TWICE, scrubbed the paint off of my hands, arms, body, hair, etc; dried and curled my hair, put on my makeup and changed my clothes in less than 40 minutes. And I looked presentable. I count that a miracle in itself. ;-)

H4H fed us pizza for lunch that day, and we later had Mexican food at the church during the Friday session. For that session we first met our speaker, Dave Edwards. They man is an amazing speaker, y'all. If you ever get a chance to hear him, watch one of his DVDs, or read one of his books, I strongly encourage you to do so. ;-) He is funny, yet is a strong speaker at the same time. :-)

On Friday night we were all still a little jazzed up enough to play a couple of games of Farkle before bed, although I have no idea how since we were all so tired from the day of physical labor. ;-)

I lost both games BTW... ;-)

Saturday was really the full day for the conference, and my cup was so full by the end of the day I am still processing everything that I learned.

We had two more sessions with Dave Edwards throughout the day, which were heart changing to say the least.

We also had a very talented Christian Comedian, Robert Burkhart, perform for us. He was hilarious, and I would LOVE to have him come to our church some time. You can hear samples of what he does HERE.

We also had a chance to choose some "Break Out" sessions to go to. I chose the following 3:

Living the Transformed Life by Michael Perron. Yep, the "ESPN/Abs of Steel" guy. He has an awesome testimony, and his entire session was about WHY it is important to tell your testimony, "your story." It was very inspiring.

The next session I attended was "Vacation with a Purpose", which told you how to plan a mission trip that was both productive and relaxing for your Singles group. The leader, David Nobles, was very inspiring, informative and motivating. I left that class wanting to plan a mission trip in the worst way.

The last session I attended was the "icing on the proverbial cake." It was the "Five Love Languages" of leaders, based on the "Five Love Language" books by Dr. Gary Chapman. The class was taught by Rev. Marcus D. King, and he was so down to earth, entertaining, and eye opening. I had read several of the book in the "Five Love Language" series, and learned so much. I had even mentioned it just a couple of weeks ago in our Bible Study about.... what else.... LEADERSHIP. Coincidence? I think not. ;-)

If I had to sum up the entire weekend in one word I would have to say "Motivating."

For several months our Singles Dept. has been discussing how we could better serve/reach out to our community, especially to the singles/single parent families. We have had a collective "burning" in our souls to do this, but, we had no game plan. Now, after this weekend, we have a game plan, and we ALL have such a desire to run with it. :-)

I even made the difficult decision to NOT continue my role as Club Manager of our 4-H club next year. We will still participate, because "Little Mark" loves it so, and I enjoy it as well. But, it will be as a participant rather than a leadership position. (Perhaps even another family member might take on the role of being involved in the 4-H part.) ;-) I want to be available for whatever position God wants me to have in our Singles Ministry. I am so excited about this I can't even describe it to you. ;-) When God gives you even a glimpse of what He has planned it is exciting. ;-)

That was my weekend. I hope I didn't bore you with it, but honestly words cannot describe just how awesome it was for me, and still is. ;-) Sorry it was so long, and please forgive any grammatical/punctuation errors. I honestly do not have the energy to go back and correct them. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm off for the weekend. ;-)

This afternoon I will be headed to Georgetown for a Singles Retreat. ;-) It is the first one I have ever attended, and I am excited. Tomorrow we will be helping with Habitat for Humanity, and then the actual retreat begins tomorrow night. I'm not even sure what seminars/classes will be offered, but I am already expecting to learn a lot. ;-)

I am also looking forward to getting to know the others from the Singles class who will be attending. We have become a pretty close group, and we love to study the Bible and fellowship together; and of course have FUN. I have only spit something out from laughing once, honest. ;-)

Dave Edwards will be our speaker. I've never heard him before, but I am looking forward to it. I'll tell you all about when I get back. ;-)

Wendy Darling