A Date with My Little Man

A handsome little boy really was in need of some special Mommy and son time.  On top of me being pretty busy this last couple of weeks Natalia has been extra need-y. So, I decided since Mark was avaliable to watch Natalia this morning, Christopher and I would go out, just the two of us on a Mommy date.

We got all dolled up in hoodies and baseball caps and we were ready to go! We walked finger in hand out to the car.

My date did not open the car door for me, but he obediently put his hands on the car. (We taught him to do this but I usually don’t have him do it at home).

Once we got to our destination, the Library, inside we found all sorts of exciting things to do. I let him climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Usually, I would feel stressed and in too much of a hurry for this.

We headed straight to the kids section and found… PUZZLES. We made our way around kid tables dumping puzzles then putting the pieces back. We talked about the things on the puzzle pieces.

There were a couple puzzle pieces missing so we went to search for it…
but quickly got distracted. There were lots of books and other things to explore. We got books to read, played on the toddler computer (a broken computer they have at the library), sat on lots of different seats…
and looked out the third story window while saying “vroom” “vroom”. We talked about the filter and the thermostat and sat in several places in the reading room. Looking out at the cars was probably the most exciting thing, though. Christopher hugged the giraffe and excitedly chatted about the display in the display case.
Before we left we went to the used library book store and Christopher picked out a 0.25 book. We then went outside and ate an orange while sitting on a park bench. It was such a simple hour, but also lovely.

I helped me realize a lot:

– it does not have to be grand to be fun

– sometimes they just need some one on one time

– going somewhere with the mindset of “special fun” time made a trip to the library not stressful.

– he eats up my attention

– little things like letting Christopher push the button on the elevator (we used it on our way down) makes his day

– we should do this more often!

– learning happens wherever you go, but you have to be watching out for all those lovely teachable moments

– trips with Natalia to the grocery store is not the same, but I think I can make them more fun by not always being in a hurry. A minute saved in the grocery store is probably not nearly as precious as the minute spent letting Christopher help me count the fruit and put it into bags.

– it does not take a special trip to have a special time together, but it was really nice

What are some ways you spend special one-on-one time with your kids? Have you ever gone on a date with them?

He Knows the Plans He Has for Us

I mentioned in a post about a week ago “that a major life change might be coming up”. Well, we still don’t know how major of an event this is, but Mark got layed off Friday.

I was pretty ticked. It was the second time that Mark got laid off from this company. That is why he went back to school full time a couple years ago.  I do not remember how many times I thought to myself “this is temporary” about Mark going to school and looked forward to him having a regular job. A job that started at the beginning of the day and ended in the evening. That seemed bliss. We had a little plan in place. He’d work this steady good job while we got out of debt (debt we very foolishly got into, but that is another story). Then maybe we’d do something crazy. Maybe even start our own business.

I have seen God’s hand help us in so many ways it seemed silly to be worried about him losing his job, but I was still pretty angry. I even had a strange peace knowing God was there and would take care of us, but I was still angry.

I was angry about the layoff. I was angry that Mark had been gone for two weeks getting training for a job he then lost. I was angry about the big interuption in our plan. Mostly, though I was angry about the possibility of leaving Wichita. I just started getting comfy. Mark had a “real” job and I was starting to really make friends. After 3 years Wichita seemed like home. I was getting out of a shell I had built around myself during my pregnancy with Natalia. I did NOT want to be unsettled.

I do not really remember what triggered it, but Sunday God helped me to see what I was doing. I was challenging him. I was doubting him. I felt it was our ways that were right. I was rejecting his love and the fact that home was in heaven with him, not in a state, a country, or a house. We are living here temporarily and our treasure is in heaven.

Do I know what will happen over the next couple of months? Am I particulary keen on the places Mark has already applied (all the way from Florida to Canada)? No, I can not say that I am. But if I really trusted God, if I really believe what I believe, then I know where I want to be and what I want to be doing is in HIS will doing HIS plan. No, my plans. His plans.

There is something so comforting about the verse “I know the plans I have for you”, until sometimes those plans do not seem to be what we have fabricated.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God knows the plans he has for us. We do not currently. Maybe they are stay in Wichita maybe they are moving to another Country. We do not know, but we do know the plans are to prosper us and not harm us. They are plans to give us a hope and a future. Those are the plans I want to live out.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

If God has a major life change planned for us, I am willing to go. I am desirous to go.

Homemade Laundry Soap and Dish Soap

A few months ago I made the plunge into soapnuts. What are soapnuts you ask? Glad you did.
Soapnuts are a berry that contain a natural cleaner called saponin. The saponin works as a surfacant, breaking the tension of water so that it it is able to lift of dirt and oil of surfaces and out of clothes. They are naturally organic because they are wild harvested. You can read more about them here.
I have been trying to decrease our use of synthetic detergents in hygenic products as well as household cleaners. One of the major ways I have done this is to replace our laundry detergent and dish detergent with homemade versions.
Note: The most common way to use soapnuts to wash laundry is to put 5-6 in a small baggie and use them for about 5 loads of clothes. I do not use this method because:
  • you have to keep track of how many times you use the soap nuts 
  • you have to seperate a tiny cloth bag from the other clothes 
  • it does not work as well as soap nut liquid 
  • the soap nuts are in there for the rinse cycle also, possibly leaving soap on your clothes and unneccesarily sapping some of the cleaning properties out of the nuts 
  • it costs more because you don’t get everything you can from the nut
  • I can use the soapnut liquid for other purposes
Homemade Laundry Soap and Dish Soap
Put 1 ounce of nuts (12-15) into two cups of water.

Bring the water to a boil, cover and let simmer for at least one hour.

Soapnuts and beef stock simmering away.

When the nuts are soft, light colored, and no longer have a soapy feel you’ve gotten all you will out of them. Drain the liquid. You can compost the soapnuts.
Replace any lost water so you have two cups total.
I pour 6 oz into my little squeeze bottle for laundry soap. I recently started adding 5 drops orange eo but my kids started to get diaper rashes from that (we cloth diaper) so we stopped. I use 1 T of this for a load of clothes. It cleans my diapers better then any detergent I have used.

For the dish soap I dilute it to 1 part soap nut liquid and 3 parts water. I do this because putting 1 t of soap nut in my dish water feels ineffective and I was always using more then I needed, as was Mark.

To wash dishes: add a couple tablespoons of the diluted liquid and a couple tablespoons of vinegar for extra grease fighting power. Wash the dishes like you normally would. It does not create a lot of bubbles since it does not have detergents, but it is very effective.

Update: I no longer use this as dish soap. I just use the entire thing as laundry soap.

What about the cost?
I had been wanting to get soapnuts for a while but was a little leary of the upfront cost. I kept getting bottle after bottle of store bought laundry soap while avoiding the purchase. I felt like I was pouring money down the drain because soapnuts are SOOO cheap, the only problem was I needed to order it in bulk to get the price I liked. I finally made the plunge and bought 25 pounds of them and offered them at cost to friends. A few friends took me up on it and really helped the cost of it. If you get together with friends, it can be very economical.
I pay between 4 and 5 cents per load of clothes for 100% organic, natural, and gentle laundry soap. That is the same price I was paying for homemade laundry detergent that uses synthetic detergents, did not work very well, was a lot more work to make, and was damaging to my cloth diapers (borax is bad for elastic). I think that is pretty amazing!
Keep out of reach of children, they are 100% natural but can be harmful if digested.

Gingerbread Popcorn

See that ooey gooey glob? That is gingerbread popcorn, and it is good!

This was the second attempt at the recipe, and I like it but I think next time I will do fewer spices. I really love the strong gingerbread punch this gives, but it might be a bit strong for some. If you adore spices and strong gingerbread, then do the full amount listed, if you prefer more mild flavored desserts go for the first number.

2 quarts of popped popcorn
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
1/4-1/2 t ginger
1/2-1 t cinnamon
1 pinch-1/8 t cloves
1/8-1/4 t nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1 t vanilla

I a sauce pan mix all of your spices, oil or butter, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Allow to cook until it reaches 240 degrees, or softball stage. It only takes a few minutes.

When it reaches 240 stir in the vanilla then pour over the popcorn. Stir the popcorn to coat.

Allow to cool, and enjoy!

Frugal Friday at Life as Mom


  1. Yummo! Can’t wait to try this!!!!

  2. Ooh, as soon as I get molasses I’m going to make this!