Sunday, February 26, 2012

Love me, love my soap nuts

You have to do something BIG for your 50th birthday.
I chose to begin life with soap nuts. 
It was destiny, destiny I tell you that the box of soap nuts arrived on my 50th birthday. I don't usually air our dirty laundry (horrible pun) but now that it's getting clean, let me brag for a moment about my new cleansing agent.
Do not be afraid, my friends, these are only soap nuts. 
From the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, several pounds of the dried shells of the sapindus mukorossi trees have found purpose in the suburbs of North Carolina. Oh how I wished I had these nuts when my oldest OS was a lowly plebe just starting at West Point. My olfactory buds have suffered greatly from the mounds of West Point laundry. There have been times when I have nearly driven home from the airport with the windows in my SUV open because Nate smelled really bad. Oddly enough it wasn't due to poor hygiene, it was his clothing. When I informed Nate that he REEKED, he expressed confusion not knowing whether it was the cheap laundry detergent he was using or the frequently used washing machines on post. I'm still in disbelief that he went to see his bonita in El Salvador with that unpleasant odor attached to his clothing. 

The Soldier and his bonita in El Salvador. He's going there for Spring Break.
Clean your clothes well before you leave to go see her, Nate!
But perhaps I have found the solution. My chest swelled with pride when Nate came home recently and I introduced him to soap nuts. While he was a bit skeptical about Mom and one of my latest "things," here's what I told him about the newest addition to the family. 

This is the equivalent of at least eight loads of laundry
  • Our clothes are cleaner - Imbedded stains have nearly disappeared. Without any additional spot removers or bleach, the soap nuts are kicking stains'  butts. It's shocking how fresh and bright our clothes and linens have become. 
  • Our clothes feel nicer - Dare I admit I now even enjoy folding clothes again? Please don't tell anyone else in the family. The texture of our laundry is more authentic. Ungainly t-shirts hold their heads up higher, towels have absorptive confidence. Who'd have thunk?
Soaking them soap nuts

And here's a really weird thing I've noticed 
  • Our clothes even sound better - As someone with sensitive hearing, sounds influence my daily life. The sizzle of popcorn after the kernels have just finished exploding delights but I'm drawn to the brink of insanity by the smacking of lips or the licking of fingers. A very prominent person in my life does the latter so I'm quite familiar with this sound. And while it might sound really strange to most people, I have noticed the laundry sounds different and I never perceived the sound of laundry until my encounter with soap nuts. 
Enjoy this brief "music" clip of my soap nuts. For artistic purposes, I included some almonds in the picture. Do not use almonds in your laundry! ;)
  • No residual odors - Have ever washed your face with a wash cloth that smells like it had cleaned an armpit? It has happened too many times to me and I'm sick of it! Especially frustrating is when I know that the towel was freshly cleaned and still throw it out because the smell has lingered. Well friends, that is a now thing of the past. With soap nuts, there is no funky smell. I cannot detect the body part previously scrubbed with any towel. 
  • Much less lint - the dryer has about a 10th of its previous lint! I guess that's a good thing, right?
  • No odors - aside from the slight vinegar smell of the soap nuts, my nose detects no chemical odors or perfumes.
  • Fun to use - I just soak about six soap nuts in a small muslin bag, immerse them in warm water during my washing machine and that's it. After the rinse cycle, I just hang my nuts on the knob on the cabinet until the next time. You can use the soap nuts for about 4-7 times before they are done and then I just toss them in my backyard. They are eco-friendly like that. 
"I'm taking these pants and my mom's soap 
nuts to college!"
  • Take up less space, weigh nearly nothing - As we prepare for our middle OS to attend Moody Bible Institute in the fall, Aaron will have his own supply of soap nuts quite possibly with a small monogrammed muslin bag. ;) I might even give them as gifts for his college bound friends. Aaron will surely be the coolest guy pursuing a ministry degree and he will have more room in his dorm. Perhaps he will even wear his homemade bibliophile pajama pants to the laundry room and send the ladies into orbit!

"I think West Point needs soap nuts!" 
Here's some more information if you are interested in learning more about soap nuts. Many times I have purchased products and been disappointed. My experience with soap nuts (click this to see how they work) has exceeded my expectations. Thanks to my Himalayan Mountain treasures, I can now proclaim, "Bring on the stinky Soldier! Send hither the malodorous minister! Come nigh thy athletic ginger, your mother and her soap nuts await you all with open arms."

A friend sent me this link, thought I'd pass it along. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

26-50 things I'm thankful for

To continue with my 50 things I'm thankful for:

26. The hubs gave me a rough draft of a book he's creating of all my blog posts from last year. This sweet man has poured hours preparing it and it is a family treasure.
from Charles
27. For the first time in my life, I got a birthday card from Charles. Charles is the quirky alter ego of my orange hair, freckle face OS. Charles spawned an alter ego in me named Charlene. Charles and Charlene speak their own language and have unique accents. No one else in the family really likes Charles and Charlene but we/they have fun together. Thanks Charles!

28. a birthday card announcement from 
my cadet in French and Spanish
29. For my birthday, I also received a beautiful letter from my oldest OS. And, just like Nate, he forgot to sign it! 
30. Thread - I have new thread. Thread makes things happen. Oh yeah.

bibimbap, I prefer mine without the egg
31. We entertained a Korean exchange student during my birthday weekend and she made us bibimbap and other tasty Korean foods. And I've now eaten're welcome. 
bracken, fiddleheads, they are edible
32. My soap nuts arrived. I've been using them for two weeks - love them, seriously!
33. I finished a guest blog post - taa daa!
34. At the end of my birthday night, my middle OS Aaron gave me a video of the past year. I cried through the whole thing but only had one big crying snort, it couldn't be helped. 
35. No snow or ice storms on my birthday. For someone born January 27th in the States, those things usually go hand in hand.
a mama of oliveshoots needs olive fabric.
but now what do I do with it? 
36. My road trip to MaryJo's Cloth Store with friends was joyful. Four women in an SUV talking about everything without gossip is a blessing.
37. I bought some 1 1/2 yards of olive fabric. Any suggestions on what a mama of oliveshoots can do with this? 
38. I have three pounds of dried black turtle beans. They are exquisite.
= yum
39. My birthday cake from Blue Moon Bakery - simply divine with raspberry frosting, chocolate mousse filling. And it matched my hair. It's good when your hair matches your cake.
gorgeous made from scratch poundcake
40. But before we enjoyed the bakery cake on Saturday with my extended family on Friday night, a wonderful family friend surprised me with a homemade pound cake she made from scratch. 
41. Ike's team won their game! My orange hair, freckle face OS blazed the court on my b-day!
42. My mom does not have cancer. 
43. Balloons.
44. A singing birthday greeting from my cousin's family. Tis a sweet melody hearing four girls who love the Lord leave a message for me.
45. another birthday announcement from my cadet - in Arabic and English! I'm pretty sure his roommate helped him with the Arabic. 
pj pants for a book lover!
46. I made a pair of pajama pants for one of my two bibliophiles. He's going to wear them during Spirit Week. 
47. Jesus who gave me a redemptive life. 
48. Zumba which is giving me a redemptive body (maybe)...
49. Lou Malnati's pizza from my aunt and uncle shipped from Chicago which necessitates blessing #48!
50. And lastly, another birthday greeting from my Soldier. I know this was no small feat for my OS to do, thank you precious son!