One Year Later

August 21st 2014 was my last day with my job as I ventured in to the title of ‘Stay At Home Mom’. I worry, naturally… It’s just what I do. So naturally when my husband and I decided to go forward with me quitting my job and the household living off of one income, I had the biggest worries but I took the plunge anyways because I knew it was best for our son and my sanity. 

August 28th 2014 : I got a phone call from my husband while he was on his lunch break. ” Hey, don’t freak out.. But I’m getting laid off.” My heart dropped and I started crying.. “I knew this was going to happen, why did I leave my job? What are we going to do?!” 

I re-played our conversation in my head over and over and over. “Don’t freak out? What? How am I supposed to stay calm?” I started giving myself a panic attack and I did what I naturally do when I start to feel like I’m being swallowed by the world… I called my Mom. 

I wish I could sit here and talk about how awesome it has been being a SAHM, however that’s not the case. I’m so thankful that my husband works so hard to keep us floating, however this has been one hell of a year, one big stressful year. 

November rolled around and I came across a posting for a child care provider  at a local gym, I called and went in the next day for an interview. 

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’m guilty of not loving myself enough.

I’m awful when it comes to comparing myself against others, especially on social media. You know those Instagram accounts you love to hate, the feeling of self love you get when you see your ‘followers’ numbers go up or even those little cute notifications on Facebook saying “look at you! You’re important.”
Why do we do that to ourselves? Why is it so tempting to look at someone’s story on Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter and just start to get so jealous of them? “Their life looks so perfect.”  yeah, it LOOKS like that.
We have to remember that we don’t always see the negative, the struggles or most of the time… the truth in someones life. So why is it that we start to compare and even degrade ourselves because of what someone else is sharing?

I personally had to take a break from social media. I deleted Facebook and anything to do with it off of my phone, turned my Instagram back to private and focused on pictures that made ME happy, deleted the app that tells me when I lost an IG follower or gained new ones (just don’t even bother using that app y’all) I’m not crazy active on twitter but every now and then its nice to vent through it. Of course my blog was pushed to the back burner too. It’s Ok to take a break, step away from anything social media and focus on keeping your phone out of you hands.

Get back in touch with reality, be thankful for your own happy times and even your struggles and remember that Everyone is going through something, you’re not alone.

-Nicole

Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

It has almost been a full year since I quit my job to be a full time stay at home mom. It’s also almost been a year since my husband found out he was getting laid off, right after I quit my job. Naturally I started to panic, here we were taking a huge leap and what do you know, my worst fear was coming true. I started to look in to what we could do to save money on even the smallest things. Cutting back on bills like, Cable, watching our electric use, unplugging things ( I’m ALL about unplugging) Not using our Underground sprinklers.. Thankfully, we didn’t need them this year because of how much rain we’ve had & even Turning down the water heater..etc etc

I made our first batch of Homemade Laundry Detergent, that lasted me for about 10 months and recently I changed up the recipe and made our second batch, which I am LOVING!
I also made our own Fabric Softener and that has been so cheap,easy and has lasted us about 6 months at a time!
For the longest time we didn’t have a dishwasher, our almost 100 year old home just didn’t have the space near the sink, we started to discuss the option of a portable dishwasher after going a full year hand washing every dish. Y’all, judge me or not but seriously hand washing every single dish is annoying. I know, I know…first world problems, but its not fun when you’re the only one doing the dishes and the cooking. FOR REAL.
Around Mothers day my husband and I found a woman selling her gently used portable dishwasher, we went and checked it out & ended up taking it home that day. It saved us over $400! I have loved having a dishwasher back!
So now that we have a dishwasher, I wasn’t looking forward to spending money on dishwasher soap. Just like my Laundry detergent, I set out to make our own dishwasher detergent and I’m ready to share it with everyone!

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You will need::

A Big pot for boiling
1 Gallon empty and cleaned milk jug
Funnel
16 cups of water – divided
(8 cups for boiling, 8 cups for cooling.)
1 1/2 Arm and Hammer WASHING Soda.
1/2 cup Liquid Castile Soap – Any scent, I just used unscented
1 cup Borax
7-8 drops Lemon Essential Oil
(optional)

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Bring 8 cups of water to a boil, once at a boil remove from heat and stir in your Washing Soda,Borax and Castile soap. Mix well until everything is dissolved and let stand to cool. About 10 mins. Once cooled, stir in the next 8 cups of cool water and 7-8 drops of lemon essential oil.
Let your mixture sit and completely cool before transferring in to your jug.
Once stored and completely cooled the mix may gel up a little bit, just be sure to shake it before you use it. You will typically only need about 1 Tbs per load of dishes, however feel free to start with that and if you feel you need a little more then do so. If you run one load of dishes a day this mix should last you about 6 months or more.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Laundry Detergent -Take 2

Close to a year ago I decided to go ahead and make our own Laundry detergent , not only was this in efforts to save us money but just know what was IN our laundry detergent was nice as well. I debated for a while on weather I wanted to make the liquid version or the powdered version. You see, I was a bit nervous because we have a brand new washer and dryer set that we bought after we bought our house. My main concern was that the soap wouldnt work well with the fact that our machine needed HE soap. Well, I personally haven’t had any issues in the 10 months that we used our homemade laundry detergent, even with cold washes and large heavy duty loads.
Let me just tell you how nice it was for almost a year to not have to run down to the basement and check the laundry detergent before running to the store, or simply being surprised with the fact that we ran out and no one said anything.

For this recipe I decided to change things up a bit, You can check out my first recipe HERE
And even a recipe for Homemade Fabric Softener HERE

I’ve done a little research on the difference between Fels Naptha soap and Zote soap. Zote Soap is actually better for sensitive skin( even babies clothes!)  and  will break down better in hot OR cold water, check it out below.
– Zote Soap Vs Fels Naptha VIA Budget101.com– HERE
– Zote Soap information on dye and skin sensitivity VIA Zote.com  — HERE
The Zote soap has citronella oil in it , smells WONDERFUL & breaks down easier, especially while grating. While the fels naptha has a light scent but more of a waxy feel and is harder to cut/grate and break down.

If this is your first time making this, I do suggest a few items for storage and easy mixing.  Let me also give you a peace of mind by informing you that everything you’ll need (mix wise) is in the same aisle at Walmart and most of the time it’s all together. The zote soap was down at the other end of the isle, but that’s close enough. If your store is out of Borax, you can find it at Home Depot or Lowes or any home improvement store in the cleaning supplies aisle.

For you first timers I suggest :

– Fabric scrap or cheese cloth filled with rice. Keep this in your container or jar of detergent to keep the detergent from clumping due to any moisture that may get in the container.

– 4 gallon glass jar (optional of course) these babies run about $10 at Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond. You don’t have to use these for storage however it is a nice option if guest see your laundry room or you just want to feel fancy 😉

glass jar
-1 large utility (paint) bucket from Lowes,Home Depot or Walmart for easy mixing. paintbucket
-1 old cheese grater or one you don’t mind getting all soapy, you can also use a food processor if you dont want to take the time to hand grate, however my neighbor did that and the soap stained her food processor lol.cheesegrater
** NOTE: I used the bottom small grate part for the best soap results. **

**Front Loading Laundry Detergent – **

You will need:
2 bars of Zote soap, it doesn’t matter which color..blue,pink or white they are all the same just with different dye.
(please note: the dye in the soap will not affect your clothes or machine.)
zote
5.5Lb box of Oxy Clean
oxyclean

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
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Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
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Purex Scent crystals – Large container or small, that just depends on your preferences
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1 box of Borax – Honestly, I keep a few on hand because there are a million (ok not a million) uses for Borax around your home and even for cleaning.
borax

— In all, this batch cost me just over $30 because I splurged on the Purex crystals and used Oxyclean instead of Sun clean like last time. My First Batch only cost me about $20. It’s all up to you.–

Directions
Set your bars of soap and grater aside, grab your mixing bucket, open your boxes & crystals & Start slowly pouring everything into your big mixing bucket. Just don’t stand over it  you’ll have lungs full of dust haha.( I sat outside and did this because it was a nice day out). Next you’ll start to grate your soap, I know I know it sounds so boring.. but seriously the Zote soap was SO easy to grate and after two full bars of it..my hands didn’t hurt at all.
Once you get your soap grated into the mix, take your hands and really stir things up.. I let the kiddos help me mix and feel the grated soap, just make sure everyone washed/rinsed their hands and didn’t touch their eyes. If you want to get a good mix of everything, snap on the lid to your container and roll it around. Once your mix has settled you may then transfer it to your jar if you choose, or leave it in the bucket. You WILL have some extra that wont fit in the Jar, I just filled the rest of it in the Purex crystals container and called it good. 🙂

2Tbs of detergent per load— For the Bulky loads or even my husband’s work jeans I will use 3-4 Tbs. It all depends on your preference.

The Final Product —
laundrydetergent

**TOP Loading Laundry Detergent-**
You will need:

3-4 bars of Zote soap, it doesn’t matter which color..blue,pink or white they are all the same just with different dye.
(please note: the dye in the soap will not affect your clothes or machine.) Top loading machines need to suds up more, my neighbor has a top loader so we just added another bar or two to her mix to get a better suds. Remember that this is bar soap so it wont start to suds up RIGHT away. However, it will still clean your clothes. 🙂

5.5Lb box of Oxy Clean

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Purex Scent crystals – Large container or small, that just depends on your preferences

1 box of Borax – Honestly, I keep a few on hand because there are a million (ok not a million) uses for Borax around your home and even for cleaning.

Directions
Set your bars of soap and grater aside, grab your mixing bucket, open your boxes & crystals & Start slowly pouring everything into your big mixing bucket. Just don’t stand over it  you’ll have lungs full of dust haha.( I sat outside and did this because it was a nice day out). Next you’ll start to grate your soap, I know I know it sounds so boring.. but seriously the Zote soap was SO easy to grate and after two full bars of it..my hands didn’t hurt at all.
Once you get your soap grated into the mix, take your hands and really stir things up.. I let the kiddos help me mix and feel the grated soap, just make sure everyone washed/rinsed their hands and didn’t touch their eyes. If you want to get a good mix of everything, snap on the lid to your container and roll it around. Once your mix has settled you may then transfer it to your jar if you choose, or leave it in the bucket. You WILL have some extra that wont fit in the Jar, I just filled the rest of it in the Purex crystals container and called it good. 🙂

2Tbs of detergent per load— For the Bulky loads or even my husband’s work jeans I will use 3-4 Tbs. It all depends on your preference.
laundrydetergent

** Sensitive Laundry Detergent **

2-4 bars of Zote soap depending on your machine (top or front loader..please see above directions) it doesn’t matter which color..blue,pink or white they are all the same just with different dye.
(please note: the dye in the soap will not affect your clothes or machine.)

5.5Lb box of Oxy Clean

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

1 box of Borax 

Directions
Set your bars of soap and grater aside, grab your mixing bucket, open your boxes & Start slowly pouring everything into your big mixing bucket. Just don’t stand over it  you’ll have lungs full of dust haha.( I sat outside and did this because it was a nice day out). Next you’ll start to grate your soap, I know I know it sounds so boring.. but seriously the Zote soap was SO easy to grate and after two full bars of it..my hands didn’t hurt at all.
Once you get your soap grated into the mix, take your hands and really stir things up.. I let the kiddos help me mix and feel the grated soap, just make sure everyone washed/rinsed their hands and didn’t touch their eyes. If you want to get a good mix of everything, snap on the lid to your container and roll it around. Once your mix has settled you may then transfer it to your jar if you choose, or leave it in the bucket.

2Tbs of detergent per load— For the Bulky loads or even my husband’s work jeans I will use 3-4 Tbs. It all depends on your preference.

If y’all have any questions please feel free to email me or reach out to me on Facebook! Enjoy!
NicoleLynnD@gmail.com

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— PLEASE NOTE:: All Pictures of products & Links credit to Google.com / Zote.com / Purex.com/Amazon.com and Budget101.com. The Final product picture is my own. Thank You–

26

Yesterday I said HEELLLOOOO to 26. It was a quiet day actually, pretty cloudy and my sunshine craving self wasn’t too thrilled about the coverage/rain all.day.long. BOOOO. I mean, C’mon I’m a girl from Texas… I NEED the sunshine!
I didn’t sleep well the night before, we had a pretty big storm roll through and about at about 2 am Joseph crawled in to bed with us. He tossed and turned and kicked and started having bad dreams.. he was crying in his sleep and it just melted my heart.
I spent the majority of the day sucking down spark to keep myself away, catching up on laundry, dishes and putting all of our winter items away in space saver bags. I think I made more of a mess out of this house while trying to clean haha.
While working around the house I started to think about my year, what I could see myself accomplishing or what kind of goals I want to accomplish. Of course I’ve kept my usual “Eat better and workout more” goals, this isn’t just a temporary change its lifestyle..however I do need to be better about making sure I don’t give up on myself this year.

– 6 months at a time. 6 months of eating healthy & working out, whether it’s taking walks on my off day(s) from the gym or adding more bike rides in, I just need to keep going. ( Follow me on Instagram! @NLWGetsFit)
– Take more time for ME. Yup, I will admit it that I don’t focus on just ME anymore, this may include keeping up with regular hair cuts, relaxing in a bubble bath without interruption or maybe just treating myself to a new outfit or something special from a store.
– Get out more & explore. Go to the other towns around here and just take J on adventures, spend the days off that my husband has with family activities & travel a little more (aka-Go to Texas haha)
– Save more money & pay off most if not all debt (not including our cars or house loan) I seriously need to get better about budgeting, saving and emotional spending haha. I’ll admit it, sometimes after an anxiety attack big or small I just need to get out and go splurge a little, most of the time its on stuff for the house or J ahaha.
– RELAX: I have to stop comparing our life to people on Facebook, or other Bloggers. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing and it stresses me out. I’ve gotta stop worrying about trying to please everyone as well.
– Explore the option of a VLOG, maybe just one or two Vlog posts or making more videos on IG.. who knows, sometimes I would rather talk than type everything 😛

That’s it for now, I’m sure as the year goes on I will have more things to add to my list. It was a quiet birthday and I’m honestly glad. My husband came home from work and cooked us all dinner, bought me a delicious chocolate cake and some ice cream ( calories don’t count on birthdays, right haha) and we ate with a good friend of ours. After dinner we watched Joseph devour his piece of cake and then run around the house with a sugar high, oh goodness.

Thank you again to everyone for all of the love on my birthday! Y’all sure did make me feel special 🙂

Memorial Day

   

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. 

As a veterans wife, I am very thankful and grateful that the man I love was able to come home to me and be wrapped in my arms once again. 

Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone. Those who fight, never give up and sacrifice everything they have. Those we should not remember on just Memorial Day, but remember and thank every day. We honor the many men and women in all forms of uniform who risk their lives every day. 

Our son Joseph was named after one very brave soldier who was on my husbands first tour, I won’t go in to great detail right now but I am honored to have our first born son carry his name & I am thankful that my husband can remember him and share his story with our son and future children. 

Always remember, not just today but everyday. 

 

-Nicole 

I see you…

I see you, the way you look at me when one of us walks in a room. The way your eyes judge me from top to bottom even with a smile on your face. I see the way you look at my tattoos while you try to give me a chance, The way you sit quietly and listen to me speak and tell my story.

I tell you about where I’ve been, where I come from and what I’ve seen. Your curiosity glaze is being crowded by your judgmental stare as You think for a split second you could give me a chance, get to know me a little and when I show the slightest bit of imperfection you toss me aside, delete me from your social media filled life and move on like it’s nothing.

I’m not saying I have a soul that’s pure, I’m not saying that I have never judged, I’m simply stating that I see you. I notice it all, I hear your harsh words even through the smile in your voice, the judgment and yet there is a little bit of curiosity mixed with jealousy as you speak. It’s not just you though, I’ve seen this happen many times with many different people. They all smile at my face and whisper behind my back, I’m just not something that is “ideal” here, and I’m ok with that.
I’m different, I don’t fit in with them, I don’t see the light like they do,they assume I’m weak.
Wrong.

I have a hidden heart of gold it may not always be pure..sometimes it’s spotted with a little bit of fools, look deeper & there is a soul full of questions and past hate that I’m trying to learn to forgive. I have dark stories, I have beautiful bright stories, memories that make me smile but more memories that haunt me. Some days I have to wear a mask to get me through, a forced smile and hide behind my laughter and jokes. Somedays, but not most. I watch you quickly walk by me, make a little small talk and then avoid me. You sit there and speak to me like you’re a higher power, like I should be honored.. when in all honesty were all equal.

I see you, and I’ll never try to impress you.

m’aimer pour pui je suis
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