{DIY Laundry Soap}

We are officially a DIY laundry soap family. My sweet friend Kristina at Joyfully Smitten tried to convince me to join the club just before Chipmunk was born, but I loved my Tide too much to jump ship. It’s what my grandmother always used. There is just something about freshly washed laundry that smells like Grandma was the one in the laundry room. Needless to say, I was emotionally tethered to the pricey liquid stuff. Now that we have transitioned, Husband and I both wish we had done it sooner!

DIY Laundry Soap

It cost approximately $25 to make.The picture above shows the laundry soap after more than two months of use. It lasts for ages! I’m estimating a year for this batch. Tide is super expensive and we replace it every month or two. Suffice it to say, this has already become a major money saver for us. We have a front loading HE washing machine and this detergent works great with it. We have not experienced any problems with it.

Around the time I decided to make this we started having our groceries delivered by Wal-Mart (this isn’t advertising – just a fact – we are actually fairly dedicated Target shoppers). First, I do not plan to return to grocery shopping ever again. Having a week’s groceries delivered when it is convenient and without dragging a toy-hungry toddler through a store is fantastic. Second, the timing of my grocery delivery discovery was perfect because I was able to add all the laundry soap ingredients, including the glass jar, to my delivery order. It appeared on my front step and 20 minutes later I had a jar of laundry soap ready to go!

There are several DIY posts out there on how to do this, making mine one of many, but they are all essentially the same. I personally started with this version. Because of the Borax, this was not a Chipmunk project. It is a good idea to do this when little ones are napping or otherwise occupied.

1 – 4 lb 12 oz box borax
3 bars Fels-Naptha soap
1 – 4 lb box baking soda
4 lbs Oxiclean (store brands like Up & Up work just as well)
1 container scent boosting crystal like Purex Crystals, optional

Five gallon bucket
Trash bag
2.5 to 3 gallon sealing storage container

1. Line a five gallon bucket with a trash bag.

2. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap into the bucket. I bought a cheap grater from Ikea to avoid combining anything with our food via the kitchen’s grater.

3. Combine all other ingredients (borax, baking soda, Oxiclean, scent boosting crystals) into the bucket. In the picture you can tell we added the scent boosting crystals as an after thought a few months later. It did not get evenly distributed.

4. Transfer the mixture from the the five gallon bucket into a sealing container of your choice. The jar we bought from Wal-Mart does not seal, which is a problem. Moisture causes the dry ingredients to clump and harden. We are on the hunt for a gasket to adhere to the lid.

5. If you so desire, label your detergent container. Since presentation is so important to me, we used a vinyl label I found at Etsy’s bwordy. It cost $5.00 and was shipped promptly. It came with application instructions and even an extra, slightly flawed vinyl label to practice!

It only takes a few tablespoons of soap per load. After almost three months of use, we are hooked on the detergent. Even Husband, who loved the smell and feel of our laundry when we were dedicated to Tide, is raving about it. We still add our own fabric softener to the washing machine, so we are not saving there. Dryer sheets are cheaper, but they don’t do the job as well as liquid fabric softener. We also aren’t fans of finding wayward dryer sheets in our clothes during business meetings or in the middle of medical calls. Liquid it is!

Do you make your own laundry soap? Have you ever been tempted?



{27 Weeks}

How far along: 27 weeks

Maternity clothes: I’m pretty well in maternity clothes now. There are still some non-maternity shirts. I have no idea if my pre-pregnancy jeans still fit. Once the paneled skinny jeans I ordered came in, I was hooked. The maternity jeans are loose but oh, so comfy.

Stretch marks: Nope. The old stretch marks from Chipmunk are looking a bit red, though. I can’t tell if they are just more noticeable or perhaps stretching even more. Stretch marks are the pits.

Sleep: I sleep hard but rarely get through the night without needing to pee. We also have a dog who refuses to stay off the bed, so I’m yelling at him multiple times a night. At 80 pounds, he is far too big to snuggle! I do not have a pregnancy pillow and do not feel the need for one. I am also sleeping on my stomach still. It will be interesting to see how long I can do that this time. Chipmunk was born at 37 weeks and I slept on my tummy the night before he was born. That confession is shocking enough. Being able to do the same with baby number two would be even more shocking. I’m not expecting to be so lucky twice, but I am thankful for this long torso that allows for extended tummy sleeping!

Best moment of this week: Chipmunk blowing raspberries on my tummy. He has started doing it every night and I can’t help but laugh – which, of course, encourages him. I love watching him bond with his sister while she is still in the womb. And, let’s be honest, he’s already practicing ways to torture her. Is it bad that I’m letting him get away with it?

Miss anything: Sleeping through the night. Cold cut sandwiches. Coffee. Energy.

Movement: All the time. She moves more dramatically than Chipmunk ever did. Maybe we have a dancer on our hands.

Food cravings: Strawberries. Delicious!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. No sickness.

Have you started to show yet: Yeppers.

Gender: Still a girl.

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out: The belly button is in.

Wedding rings on or off: I’m still wearing my wedding rings. They are slowly getting more snug.

Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. It’s just been one of those weeks and I am emotional about everything. Husband is starting to tread a bit more lightly. He’s probably living in fear of the tears.

Looking forward to: Finishing all the painting and completing the nursery. I just ordered the cutest mobile to put above the crib!

{Catching Up…In Photos}

26 week bump. The bags under my eyes and unkempt hair say it all! Who needs to sleep?

26 week bump

A sneak peek at Chipmunk’s Halloween costume. He was so excited when he opened the box. Getting it off him was a challenge!

chipmunk fireman domestic bella

Apparently we have the frat boy look down. #lordhelpme

Chipmunk Frat Boy_Domestic Bella chipmunk gap domestic bella chipmunk_domesticbella

I’m finally starting to make progress in getting this house clean again. Finding the time and energy to nest has been tough this time. The desire and need are there, but motherhood and work compromise all my spare time.

clean kitchen_domestic bella IMG_0261.JPG_edited

Why, hello Yogi. Fancy meeting you at the Snack Shack!

IMG_0315 IMG_0318


One can never have too many pumpkins. The prices were awesome! I wish we had snagged more to better fill our front porch. We have a carved a few. One is still waiting to be carved. Chipmunk is going to paint and glitter-fy the rest this week.

pumpkin patch chipmunk domestic bella

A red tree! In our yard! We are still constantly given signs that this is where we are meant to live. When our first autumn here brought with it two red trees, I once again felt it. We are, really and truly, home. It is a fantastic feeling.

red tree_domesticbella

Chipmunk heard Sissy’s heartbeat with the stethoscope for the first time last week. It was super faint and we weren’t confident he would hear it. Yet as soon as Husband told Chipmunk what he should hear, Chipmunk got a huge grin on his face and, after a little silence, mimicked the noise himself. I beamed and cried. It was one of those lifetime top ten moments.

Sissy Heartbeat_Domestic Bella


That’s a quick update in photos. What have you been up to lately?



{Pregnancy & Cognizance}

What memory Chipmunk didn't steal, Sissy is determined to claim for herself.

What memory Chipmunk didn’t steal, Sissy is determined to claim for herself.

My brain has been increasingly scattered lately. Scattered to the point of immense frustration. This second pregnancy is especially hard on my cognitive presence. There are moments when I feel I should not be left alone – like the time I flooded our entire coffee bar in more water than I would like to admit. Or yesterday when I scheduled my hospital tour over Chipmunk’s swimming lessons while I was staring at it in my planner. Better yet, the time the garage door opener compartment in my car broke. I hit it several times with no luck. Panicked (yes, panicked), I ran through my options. The keys to the front door weren’t on me. Husband was home so I dialed his cell, hopeful he would open the garage door for me. His phone rang…and rang…and rang. All the while, Chipmunk was in the backseat impatiently yelling, “Up! Up! UP!” As if I could not process his demand, a fair assumption, wild arm movements accompanied his orders. “I can’t!” I pleaded back. “It’s broken. I can’t open the door. It won’t go up. I can’t!” Because arguing with a two-year-old always goes well.

Then it hit me like that proverbial ton of bricks: I could indeed open the garage door. Mortified, I disconnected the call just as it proceeded to voicemail, opened the remote compartment, and pushed the button with my bare hands. Apparently folks, the way I opened garage doors for a decade before this car was too much for my shrinking brain to handle.

Chipmunk ceased his incessant cries as I shifted the car into drive and parked in the garage. Husband greeted us as we walked in the house, his silenced phone in his hand and a questioning look on his face. Why had we called? he inquired. “Lie!” the embarrassed sector of my psyche screamed. “Lie, lie, lie! The two-year-old can’t speak well enough to rat you out. LIE.”

But you guys. I can’t lie. I can’t lie when I am not pregnant. In fact, at this point in my life, I am brutally honest. My brain, the one that had just farted all over the driveway (quaint, no?) could not even begin to shape a story – let alone a conceivable one. So I told Husband the truth. And instead of laughing, he slowly shook his head and left the kitchen. I’m not sure which reaction is more insulting, but it is important to note that I rendered my husband speechless.

Sissy, sweet girl, you certainly are tough on me. I hope you’re storing up that stolen intelligence for one heck of a future.



{24 Weeks}

How far along: 24 weeks

Maternity clothes: I haven’t quite retired the pre-maternity jeans, but everything else in my closet is marked “maternity.”

Stretch marks: Nope.

Sleep: I’m not sleeping well and cannot explain why (outside of the whole “there’s a baby in my uterus” thing). I’m exhausted and have no trouble getting comfortable. This baby is even allowing me to continue sleeping on my tummy. This morning I woke up at 4:51 am – nine minutes before the alarm could sound. Yuck.

Best moment of this week: Chipmunk bringing me flowers!

Miss anything: Sleep. Energy. Having the time to nest the way I’m craving to do so.

Movement: All the time. We’ve been able to see her move on the outside for a few weeks now. All the movement is my favorite part of pregnancy.

Food cravings: Sweets, sweets, and more sweets. Vanilla cupcakes with frosting, anyone?

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. No sickness.

Have you started to show yet: Yeppers.

Gender: Still a girl :)

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out: The belly button is in.

Wedding rings on or off: I’m still wearing my wedding rings. With Chipmunk I think I had to switch them out at this point. I’m grateful that isn’t the case this time.

Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. It’s just been one of those weeks and I am emotional about everything. Who cries because the dishes had the audacity to get dirty again? This girl.

Looking forward to: Finishing the paint jobs around here. I’m so over it all. It’s time for Husband to take over the work.

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