Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Am Hutterite

The fifth book provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review was I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby.
This book took me a long time to get through. There were so many characters and I really had a hard time following. It wasn't until I was more than halfway through the book that I realized there was a family tree and a Hutterite Language Glossary at the back of the book. Had I noticed that earlier, it would have helped immensely.
Reading about the Hutterites and how they live: feeling so sheltered and protected, yet feeling trapped at the same time was fascinating. I enjoyed reading about daily life in the Hutterite Community, how life worked with no personal property and everyone sharing in all the work. It was also interesting to see how, when leaving the community, the author's family started over with nothing and yet managed to be successful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Perler Beads

Here is a wonderful (inexpensive - around $10 for 5000 beads plus pegboards) craft that has kept my kids busy all summer: Perler Beads! There are little pegboards you place the beads on to make a design. When the design is complete, the adult irons it so that it melts together and comes off the pegboard. You now have a Perler Bead Creation and are ready to make another! I have bought "Perler Beads" at many different times and at different stores. I did not realize there was more than one kind of "Perler Bead." Here is what I have discovered:
  • Perler Beads (also called Fun Fusion) are the best. They are the most uniform and they melt together well.
  • Hama Beads are a close second but do not mix well with the Perler brand.
  • Melty Beads (found at Wal-Mart) are very poor quality and not worth it - AT ALL! They are not consistently flat on the bottom, causing them to pop off the pegboard, many beads are deformed and not usable at all, and they stink when they melt, if you can get them to melt to one another!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Here is a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. It makes ten gallons of laundry detergent for just a few dollars. I found four different recipes online, all very similar. The one I used was closest to the recipe the Duggar Family uses:

  1. Grate 1 bar Fels-Naptha (I found this at Mast General Store) into 4 cups of hot tap water.
  2. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  3. Fill a five-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.
  4. Add melted soap, 1 cup washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate - I found it in the pool supplies area), and 1 cup Borax; stir well.
  5. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.
  6. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap mixture and the rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (It will gel.)
As you can see, this one batch will last a LONG time!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Stress Chess

My husband and children have wanted to learn to play chess... I know how but I'm really not any good... I found this "No Stress Chess" game by Winning Moves Games at Barnes & Noble and had part of a gift card left over, so I decided to give this game a shot. It is amazing! You start out playing with a deck of cards that tell you which piece to move and how to move it. The goal at that point isn't to win, but just to learn how the pieces move. Then you take it up a step, choosing between a few cards to help build some strategy into the game; but not to overwhelm you with the 16 pieces on your side. In just a few short days, my children (ages 7 & 9) are playing Chess without the cards - and loving it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Update on the Chacos

So remember back when I bought my Chacos? How excited I was? Well, the toe thing started hurting my toe again. The wonderful people at Mast General Store suggested I adjust them so the toe strap was under my toe. I thought that would be uncomfortable but it was fine. However, there must have been some glue stuck because when I pulled the straps, the bottom of the sandal tore where the strap enters. Grrrr. But again, bragging on Mast General Store, they ordered me new ones (in brown without the toe) and held back the other 9-wides they had so I could choose. Even without my receipt, they took my "old" Chacos, fitted me with the ones they had saved for me, and I was out the door with the black ones. I think these are even cuter, don't you think? Needless to say, we will be returning to Mast General Store for future shoe shopping trips! In fact, we returned later that week to buy new sandals for my husband.

Residence Inn

I just have to brag on our experience at the Residence Inn in Deerfield, IL. My husband made reservations there for a business/leisure trip, knowing it was close to his appointments but also close to some shopping for me to enjoy while he was working. When we first arrived, we were told we had been upgraded to a "Two Bedroom Suite." We walked in the door, shocked by the enormity of it!
We walked into the living room area (view of the living area from the loft) with the first bedroom's French doors open ahead of us next to the stairs leading to the lofted bedroom and bath. Here is the lofted bedroom,and a view of the living area from that area. There was even a full kitchen. I was ready to move in! The simplicity of it all and the great breakfast provided... the nearby shopping, the train station right down the street if wanting to go downtown... And with the state rate for business of only $79/night! :)