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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Little Miss Homemaker

So, I have been on this kick for the last six months or so where I am making more and more things homemade. I am definitely not alone with this trend of saving money where possible and reusing, recycling, up cycling, and making things from scratch. It's actually really fun and challenging to find ways to make things I typically buy at the store. I have been using homemade laundry detergent for close to a year now and it has been great. I have saved a lot of money not having to buy detergent and other products each month at the grocery store.

One Saturday afternoon in February my best friend, April and I spent a couple of hours making laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, dish soap and fabric softener. We spent about $25 each and ended up with months worth of each product. Another plus besides saving money...IT. WAS. EASY. Seriously, there was minimal effort involved and we were able to enjoy each other's company while "working" :) .

I googled recipes for each of these products and found them on multiple sites. Lucky for me, there are other women out there who are super smart and figured out these recipes so everyone else can take advantage. Below are the photos of the products we used/made.

Here is the dish soap made with


Here is all-purpose cleaner that I am ADDICTED TO! It is citrus rinds with white vinegar in a jar for two weeks. Then put into a spray bottle and TA-DA!!! 


Below is dish soap and fabric softener while they are melting:


This is dishwasher detergent in a pickle jar (For some reason this got hard as a rock so I had to throw it away because I couldn't get it out of the jar! Will keep experimenting to see what went wrong.) DO NOT MIX CITRIC ACID WITH OTHER INGREDIENTS WITHOUT STIRRING MIXTURE DAILY FOR A FEW DAYS TO PREVENT HARDENING: 


Here are 5 gallon buckets we used to put laundry detergent in:


Below are finished products for fabric softener and dishwasher detergent:


And these are all the products we used to make our homemade products: 


Another great thing about these products is that every one of them serves at least one other purpose so there is no waste or wasteful spending. 

The recipes for the cleaning products are:

Laundry Detergent (we doubled our batch) (original site for Laundry Detergent Recipe) :

 1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) found in the detergent isle

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle

1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle

3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle (if you use Zote bars use 2 bars instead, Zote can be found at Home Depot)

-Grate the bar soap and then dump/mix all ingredients together. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry. Safe for HE washers, which is what I have.

Fabric Softener (double batch):

12 C hot water
6 C white vinegar
4 C hair conditioner (crazy! I know!)

Mix all together until conditioner is dissolved. Use 2 tablespoons per laundry load. Here is the original site: Fabric Softener

Dishwasher Detergent (double batch):

2 C Washing Soda
2 C Borax
1 C salt
1 C citric acid

Mix ingredients well and use one tablespoon per load. Original site for Dishwasher Detergent

Dish Soap (times 8 so it was a big batch):

2 C Fels Naptha
16 C water
1 C vinegar

Pour soap and water into pot, slowly heat and stir until soap dissolves. DO NOT BOIL. Allow to cool some then add vinegar. Allow to cool completely before transferring. I can not for the life of me find the original site for this recipe or I WOULD GIVE CREDIT where credit is due.

I am in no way saying these recipes are mine. I only borrowed them from other super-smart women who pioneered the homemade home goods before me.

Anyway, I strongly suggest trying these recipes. They will save you time and money and it is a great feeling knowing what exactly is being used in your home!

Hope you enjoyed!

-J.D.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My First Race...

So, in November of 2012, I ran my first 5k with my very best friend, practically a sister, April. We ran it in her town, Nacogdoches. This race benefitted CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocates. Woohoo! Since this was both of our first races we did not wear a costume. We just wanted to survive the darn race! LOL!

I had pics of this race but can't find them now! :(

Anyway, our time was around 38 minutes but I can't remember exactly. If I find them, I will add them later....

I can say though, that this race was tough. It really pushed April's and my endurance. It was on hilly terrain through a park and we earned that race shirt! April had trained on a treadmill so was totally unprepared for running on streets/trails. I pushed her pretty hard which in turned meant I pushed myself. We were a great team and were so proud to finish the race!

Thanks for reading!

Jill D.

I Am A Superhero!

I was unable to run a 5k in March due to shoulder surgery-torn bicep tendon and bone spurs-but I struggled through a race in April, thanks to a good friend.

But let me tell you....

Running 3 miles with minimal training beforehand is basically torture. I would have walked a lot of the race if my friend, Jana, hadn't pushed me. Hard. I was sooooo sore for the next week and the bottom, outside of my right foot was KILLING me! My body was just not ready but I don't regret it. Every experience is a learning opportunity.

I learned that one should really, really run before a race.

The Superhero Dash benefits CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocates. That makes TWO Superhero Dashes I have run! I used to be a CASA volunteer and then case manager. CASA is a great organization that I support 100%. They do so much good for the many, many children in foster care.

Another great thing about this race is that I was surrounded by professionals I work with on a daily basis from multiple organizations-local law enforcement, CPS, Childrenz Haven (Child Advocacy Center), SAAFE House (domestic violence shelter) and the District Attorney's office (I am probably forgetting plenty, here!). We all work toward the same goal-protecting children and families which it fantastic. We are all on the same team!

Besides all of the obvious wonderful points of this race....

WE GOT TO DRESS UP IN COSTUMES!

Now, people dress silly all the time for races and I am down for dressing for a them but I do not dress crazy just for the hell of it. I don't judge anyone else who does, it's just not my thing.

Below is my coworker and friend, Rachel and her niece:


Below are Rachel and her hubby, Marty:


Below are Jana (my partner in the race, coworker and friend) and myself (I am on the left): 


Below are myself (left) and Rachel (right): 


We ran this race at the Alabama Coushatta Indian Reservation which made for beautiful scenery. THe weather was perfect and there were so many good friends present. Overall, this was a great race!

-Jill D.

Jail Break!

JAIL BREAK...run!

The 5k race I ran in February of this year (2013) was called the Jail Break Run and benefitted Law Enforcement Officers injured on the job. Now, this is a race I can get behind since my hubby is a deputy and most of our closest friends work in law enforcement in some capacity. The race took place in Baytown, Texas bright and early in the freezing cold. Since my hubs had to work the night before and the night of the race, he was not able to come with me-he had to sleep in order to function at work. Crazy, right?

Anywho, since he was sleeping, I had to go BY MY SELF! I was so nervous! I got up at 4:30 AM and got a quick bite to eat then drove to Baytown, about an hour and a half from my house, for the race. When I arrived it was still dark and cold outside but there were tons of people there already! Everyone who worked the event that I came into contact with was extremely nice and helpful. One lady offered to go to her car for a piece of gum for me! So, after bouncing around trying to keep warm, the 2 minute-til-race warning sounded. It was at this precise moment that I had an overwhelming urge to pee. I know it was just nerves but that didn't make the need any less! So I ran as fast as possible to a Porta-Potty to take care of business and made it back to the starting line with a minute to spare.

Once I lined up, I got my phone timer prepped, music playing in my ear buds and attempted to get my nerves under control. I knew I would be fine for the race but being there alone made me SO nervous! It was a weird feeling. When the starting gun went off and the race started, all my nerves fell away and I just ran. All the thoughts left my mind while I controlled my breathing and listened to my music. This is what I like about running, the mindlessness of it. I can truly let everything go and be free for a few minutes. It is a glorious feeling.

This race was full of firsts for me-being there alone for one but also I ran the ENTIRE race without stopping ONCE! I was so proud of this accomplishment and felt like I could take over the world once I crossed the finish line. My time was a new PR-32:49! That is almost 4 whole minutes faster than my last race! YES!

Below is a pic before the race:


I doubt I'll ever run a marathon and I don't love long distance running but 3 to 4 miles is perfect. It is enough time for me to get a great workout but to also let go of everything and be totally free and alone for a small chunk of time. This is worth every ache and pain that comes with running.

-J.D.

Jiggle Butt What??

So, my New Year's Resolution was to run a 5k each month for the year of 2013 and then make a t-shirt quilt with my race shirts. I felt like this would be a serious challenge and would push me to keep running and stay in shape as well as give me something fun to look forward to. Well, the following pictures are from my first race of 2013-The Jiggle Butt Run in Fort Worth, Texas! This race benefits women who are victims of domestic violence. 99% of the race participants were girls and women of all ages! How cool is that? There was a strong aspect of sisterhood present during the entire event which was super cool.  

This is a picture of the back of the shirt we got for the race:


From left to right in the pciture below are myself, my cousin (and one of my BFFs) Melissa (AKA Mel), and my Aunt Lisa (mom stand-in since my mom died a few years back):


Me and Mel below being silly and waiting anxiously for the race to start:


Below are me and my Uncle Norbert (AKA Uncle Norby) (Oh, how I love this guy!):


Uncle Norby is the one who pushes me hardcore with running and races. He is Mister Athlete and although he is in his fifties, he could kick my butt and outrun me any day! 

The race was tough but great! I got a new PR which was 37:11 and had a total blast with my awesome family. Aunt Lisa, Mel and I seriously have so much fun and laugh basically NON STOP when we are together! 

Until next time!

-Jill D.

Where Have I Been???

Holy crap. It's been alllllmost a year since my last post. What the Fraggle Rock?!? Ugh, I am so bad at commitment, I swear. Each time I get on this blog I VOW that I am going to be better at keeping up with it. I mean, it's an artistic outlet for me to vent my frustrations, share crafts and creations and allow my voice to be heard.

Right?

Right.

So. Here goes a quick update on my life.

I am taking the summer off from grad school-I was this close to stabbing someone and the stars aligned which allowed me to take a break. I am so thankful every day for this! I really needed a mental health break. ;) I still work full time as an Investigator for Child Protective Services-going on two years with that and four years total with CPS. The boys (10 and 11, about to be 11 and 12) are doing fantastic! They are enjoying a care-free summer which appears to be flying by before any of us is really ready. My love(r) is working as a deputy in the county we live in-he doesn't love it, but it keeps him home with us and pays the bills. I know that he is good at his job and I desperately want him to be happy so it makes me sad he isn't fulfilled at work. But I have faith that things will work out. They always do.

I have been so busy with work, school, the boys, being a wife and taking care of the house that I feel like time if going TOO FAST and there are not enough hours in the day to get things done. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed but then I realize that this is not a race, there will be no winner or loser. I can only do my best and be content with that.

One last big change in my life....

I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! It is one of the very best decisions I have ever made! I will talk more about this in later posts though so you can ask your questions then. If you have them. :)

Thanks for reading,

Jill

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Happened??

There are many days in my job that are really difficult. These may include working with difficult and hostile clients or children that have been severely injured, among other things.

But one thing that is a struggle for me on a regular basis is not knowing for sure, one way or the other, whether an incident actually occurred.

There are the parents telling one version of the story....

Family, friends and other collaterals telling another version of the story.....

And other professionals such as law enforcement, medical staff and mental health professionals providing yet another piece of the puzzle.

I am a very black and white, right or wrong kind of person so I find it difficult and frustrating when I can't make an incident finding fit into one of two categories--REASON TO BELIEVE or RULED OUT. Reason to believe (RTB) means that more than likely the incident occurred. Ruled out (RO) means we can conclude that more than likely the incident did not occur.

It's a simple concept. One would think. But it can become quite difficult to pinpoint fishy details, especially when there is a lack of physical evidence and all one has to go by is what people are saying happened.

I despise not knowing for sure about an incident for my own reasons but more than that-child safety becomes a huge concern. If I can not say comfortably whether abuse or neglect has occurred, the children I am responsible for are at a greater risk and that is terrifying. It is a heavy burden to bear, for sure but don't get me wrong-I do love my job. I feel like most days more good is done than harm and I try my damnedest to ensure children are safe. I also pray to whatever god there is to protect these children when and if I am unable. That is the best I can do and it will have to be enough.