28 April 2011

Sacraments, Soap Nuts and Swamps.

If I had been more on the ball I would have had a post ready to be automatically published on Easter Sunday celebrating the Resurrection like a good little Catholic blogger. But I'm relatively new to this enterprise and still learning the ropes of good blogging, so I hope you'll forgive me my omission.

Dominic's first Easter went much better than I was expecting. He's been settling into a pretty regular nap schedule, which makes him primed and ready for bed at about 7:30 or 8pm. If he skips any of his naps he's a grumpy bugger until he goes to bed. So we started our Triduum fairly well. Holy Thursday Mass was at 7pm so we were cutting it close but still able to keep him relatively good tempered until it was over. On Good Friday we were not so lucky. I had to skip out because Dominic missed his afternoon nap (our fault...we were out looking for dress shoes for his Easter outfit) and he was not going to cooperate. We were worried that there would be a repeat performance the next day and I would have to miss out on the Vigil Mass and instead go to Mass in the morning without my darling husband (as the Director of Religious Education he had to be at the Vigil for the Sacraments of Initiation). So we took extra precautions and got him down for an extra nap right before we had to leave for the Vigil, which started at 8pm. Lo and behold! he handled it beautifully, especially considering it was very much past his bedtime! I had to pace with him in the ring sling near the doors to get some air during Communion, but that was the extent of it. Moral of the story? Babies can and will exceed expectations...and they are remarkably resilient. Oh and a ring sling is a must-have for long Vigil Masses.

Now, in my attempt to switch entirely to natural household products, I have finally delved into the world of soap nuts. We all know the saying "Money doesn't grow on trees." (Or, as I like to say, "My money tree isn't producing this year"). But guess what does grow on trees...laundry detergent! These soap nuts (or soap berries, as they are more accurately named) contain a natural detergent called saponin in their hulls. When you soak them in water they release the saponin, which reduces the surface tension of the water, allowing it to penetrate fabrics and thus clean them. Cool, right?

I have been making my own laundry soap for over a year now, but, after experiencing some problems with leaking due to possible detergent residue on my cloth diapers, I decided to give soap nuts a try. I got mine from NaturOli because their prices were the best and they don't use plastic in their packaging. I got a 1/4 lb. bag, which can be used for over 40 loads of laundry. That works out to about $0.25 per load (if you buy the 4 lb. bag, it works out to $0.08 per load)! I have been using them on my diapers for over a week now and I'm impressed! My diapers come out clean and soft and I have no leaking problems. My laundry smells clean...no not the "fresh" scent so commonly associated with cleanliness, but actually clean. And if you really like your laundry to be scented, you can throw a towel with a few drops of essential oil on it into the dryer with your load.

What's even better is that NaturOli offers 50% off their soap nuts and Extreme 18X liquid concentrate in honor of Earth Day. Unfortunately, the sale ended Tuesday at midnight, so you can't take advantage of this deal (yet another example of how I need to be more on-the-ball about getting posts up quicker). But it's still cost-effective, even without the sale. I was able to purchase a 2 lb. bag before the sale ended at $19 with $10 shipping, which works out to $0.09 per load! Hooray for natural and cost-effective!

Now if only I could hang my diapers out in the sun to dry...

I mention that merely as a segue into my next topic, which is, of course, RAIN.

Lots, and lots, and lots of rain.

Normally, rain is a good thing for a gardener. Unless, of course, your soil is mostly clay and it pours buckets for a week straight (or longer, I don't know. I've lost track). Our lawn looks like a prairie, which is not in and of itself a bad thing if you're going for that look. The weeds next to our shed have grown nearly a foot since this all started (and no, I'm not over-exaggerating). My garden beds are now more suited to rice paddies than anything resembling a vegetable bed. Had I known this deluge was on its way, I wouldn't have planted my lettuce seeds. My neat little rows have been scattered all over the bed, so I'll have to wait until they get their true leaves to figure out which variety is growing where. Ugh!

I would have taken a picture of what basically amounts to a bird bath in my backyard, but it was too depressing at the time (and my camera ran out of batteries).

It looks like my tomato and pepper plants will have to wait for the soil to dry out a little before they can be planted.


  1. In case you don't know, you can make your own soap nuts liquid using this recipe: http://www.buysoapnuts.com/howtouse.html

    I think it works better than the whole berries.

    Also, you may not have this problem, but I had trouble with ammonia when I was using just soap nuts on my diapers, even tho they smelled clean when they came out of the wash. Poor Alex got a burn on his little bum. :( So now I use some borax in my diaper laundry too, even tho it means I have to do an extra rinse.

  2. @Amanda: Interesting. I'll have to be on the lookout for that, then. We haven't had any problems thus far, but it's still early ;-)



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