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Tips&Tricks

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent? (Without Borax!)

Switching from store-bought laundry detergent to homemade version is an easy choice. Do you know why? It’s because many DIY alternatives are equally effective without a high price tag. If we want to teach our kids to save money, we need to show them good example.
So don’t you think you should learn how to make homemade laundry detergent?

The only thing to keep in mind before I begin is that this homemade liquid laundry detergent recipe is suitable for just HE (high-efficiency) machines. Now let’s discuss some essentials involved with the process.

Laundry Soap vs. Laundry Detergent

Detergent and soap are two different products, aren’t they? Laundry soap consists of oils and fats that have a base or an alkali. Some soaps also contain a combination of coconut and olive oils blended with a water base and lye.

On the contrary, laundry detergent has a synthetic quality that serves a particular purpose. This includes dissolving in either cold or hard water. You will come across many articles titled “How to make homemade laundry detergent?” that list natural soap recipes. And that’s because natural laundry detergents are not as common.

A good smelling laundry detergent is available at any local store, right? It falls under the category of laundry detergents, which is why I would like to call my version DIY laundry detergent.

Why switch to natural laundry detergent?

Making the switch to a homemade version means avoiding harsh chemicals, additives, colors, and fragrances. On top of that, homemade detergents/soaps are not as expensive as the regular, store-bought options. And they’re easy to create as well!

It doesn’t matter if this is your first time or if you never thought that you would be doing something like this. Living life in a sustainable manner is not only a great idea but also a healthy one. It keeps both you and the environment in good condition.

And the best part is that switching to homemade laundry detergent requires little effort. Plus, you don’t even need to spend on expensive ingredients to complete the task.

How to make homemade laundry detergent?

Before I list down the ingredients, let me tell you something about borax. Many people prefer homemade laundry detergent without borax. It’s because borax doesn’t have a good reputation for being safe. And when you have a safer alternative such as washing soda, why add a harmful ingredient like borax to your homemade version!

What you will need:

5-ounce soap (3 bars, one should contain coconut oil), finely grated

6 cups of washing soda

Lemon essential oil (optional)

Additional ingredients:

OxiClean Free or peroxide

Food processor

Wool dryer balls

Downy ball (optional)

White vinegar (non-GMO)

The method: How to make

  1. The first step

Cut the soaps into tiny chunks and add them with washing soda to your food processor.

  1. The second step

Blend the mixture until it turns into fine powder. Don’t forget to place a towel on top of the processor. This prevents the powder mist from escaping into the air.

Let the powdery paste settle for a while before you open the container. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a lot of powder on the kitchen counter.

  1. The last step

Pour the prepared detergent into any clean container. And add at least five drops of the essential oil to each load along with the detergent while washing.

The method: How to use

The instructions listed below are suitable for the top loader and not front loaders.

  1. Use 3 tablespoons of the homemade laundry detergent for every load. When washing with cold water, it’s necessary for you to dissolve the detergent in a small bowl of hot water. So at such times, what you can do is begin the load with hot water so that the detergent dissolves before you bring in the laundry.
  2. Then add five lemon essential oil drops. The oil acts as degreaser.
  3. With whites, pour half a cup of peroxide or an Oxiclean scoop into the washer’s bleach compartment.
  4. The next step is to add half a cup of vinegar into the machine’s fabric softener slot or the Downy ball.
  5. To make the laundry extra soft and reduce drying time, bring in the wool dryer balls.

That’s All Folks!

So did you find the answer to “How to make homemade laundry detergent?”

The DIY recipe discussed above works for HE (high-efficiency) machines. And that’s because the detergent has a low-sudsing quality. Also, the bars of soaps are finely grated before you use them to prepare the homemade laundry detergent. So there’s no doubting the safety of the detergent for HE designed washers.

Before I wrap it up, I would like to add two more conclusive points. The first one is that you need to use half the amount when working with HE machines. And the second important thing to remember is to check your washer’s company manual. It’s because, sometimes, the use of certain ingredients nullifies your product’s warranty.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

I hope the instructions discussed in the article were easy to understand and follow. And I hope the content helped in solving your problem.

Was there anything that you didn’t like or would like to add? Please drop in your thoughts and comments in the section right after the article.

Tips&Tricks

4 Tips for Safeguarding Your Child’s Social Networking Activity

If your kid is like most other children these days, chances are they already have a social networking account or they’ve been wanting to make one. While this aspect of life can certainly help a child develop and mature through social interaction, sharing, and exploring the world through the eyes of others, there are also many risks that come with staying active on social networking platforms.

1. Use a Privacy-Oriented Social Networking Site

There’s no rule that says your child should only be using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. In fact, those platforms and other major social networking sites have all been criticized and even sued for their lackadaisical and exploitative approaches to managing user privacy. The new breed of social media platforms like Emenator.com are much safer for children to use because they don’t broker in user data and expose your children to all sorts of privacy concerns in the process.

2. Install Parental Control Software

Parental control software will make it easier for you to monitor your child’s social networking posts and can help you keep a log of their activity that can be modified, even if they delete their history or take down posts after publishing them. Of course, these tools can also be used to keep your kid from visiting questionable or inappropriate websites. So, they’re good to use as part of an overarching web security plan.

3. Require Shared Passwords

Letting your kid have their own password might seem like a good way to teach them about independence and growing up, but in reality, you’re just giving them the ability to do whatever they want in the social media accounts behind your back. If you don’t know their password, you can’t log into their accounts to see what they’ve been doing – it’s really that simple. To keep that from becoming the case, it’s best to require that your child share their passwords with you in order to continue using social networking sites.

4. Use Location-Tracking Apps

Things can really start to get scary when your child gets old enough to arrange parties and dates through social media. At that point, it’s best to use a location-tracking app to check up on your kid’s whereabouts. After all, you don’t them being lured out into the world somewhere by a stranger or imposter who’s pretending to be one of their friends online, so having this backup measure in place to help you quickly locate your son or daughter is definitely a step worth taking to give yourself peace of mind.

Cybersecurity and Real-World Security Are One in the Same

Nowadays, protecting your child’s online activity means just as much as protecting them when they’re on the way home for school at the store, or in any other real-world scenario. Thus, taking the above steps to make sure your kid isn’t doing anything risky on social media platform is an essential preventative measure that every parent should take.

Tips&Tricks

How To Raise A Bilingual Child

Today, languages are highly valued and learning more than one language has a multitude of benefits. Parents are now doing their best to raise bilingual children. Considering the benefits that come with this, the million dollar question is how a parent should go about it. Although there is no specific way that this should be done, there are several ways that can be more effective. The most important thing is to choose a way that a parent believes is the best and be consistent with it.
Here are some tips from us on how to raise a bilingual child.

bilingual child

Use the rule of minority language at home and the community language outside

The best way to give children the gift of a new language is to make it a part of their lives. One of the best ways to raise a bilingual child is to follow the minority language at home, community language when outside. This simply means speaking the minority language when at home and when the kids go outside, they speak the most common language in the community. By using the minority language at home with parents and other family members, you will be strengthening the exposure of the child to the language.

One person, One language

One of the most popular ways of raising a bilingual child is using the one person, one language strategy. This means that each person at home speaks the same language which is different from the other person when conversing with the child. The child gets equal exposure in both languages. The most significant part of this strategy is to ensure that it is consistent and none of the persons should switch the languages they speak while conversing with the kid.

Listening to foreign music and watching the movies

Children are sponges for music, so a good way to let them absorb the language is through native language songs. You should get a large collection of music CDs and DVDs in the language you want your kid to learn. Play those CDs while you do some routine things such as cleaning up or getting ready to bed. Talk with your kids about the songs, explain them the meaning.  Reading books, flashcards, and doing activities related to the culture also help.

Time and place method

In this strategy, a parent makes a rule on when each language should be used. It could be that the first language is spoken 3 days a week while the second one is spoken 4 days a week or a specific language is spoken in the morning while the other one is spoken in the evenings. Also known as the Context Method, it basically depends on who the child is with or where they are. One important advantage about this strategy is that the child learns two languages at the same time and can speak any depending on the situation.

Enroll your children in a billingual school or after school language class

There are lots of bilingual schools in every US city and most of them are really good. Keep in mind that these schools are private so the cost of tuition fee can be really high. But, if your kid is already going to a private school, transferring to a bilingual one might not be much more expensive. And it’s definitely a better option for them. Having other kids their age learning and speaking together will help them feel comfortable with the language.

To conclude, raising a bilingual child can be a huge challenge to any parent considering that some kids can be a bit slow in grasping. As a parent, you need to be patient and persevering. A lot of effort is needed and you also need to be consistent so as not to confuse the little one. Don’t forget, the benefits of raising a bilingual child outweighs the difficulties that you might face along the way. In lots of non-English speaking countries around the world, kids are taught to be bilingual in their native language and English, so this idea is not so innovative and crazy.

Tips&Tricks

How to Teach Kids to Save Money

Talking with kids about money can be a little awkward at times, especially if they don’t fully understand the concept. Decide on an age appropriate time and have that talk with them. Learning to handle money is just as important to learning the facts about life or drugs. You want your kids to be prepared for the future.

Here is how you can teach kids to save money.

teach kids to save money

Set A Good Example No Matter The Age

This is important if you want to teach kids to save money because managing money successfully is all about making good decisions. Maybe your child won’t understand your bank statement but you can use situations you come across in everyday life to talk to kids about money on their level. It is never too early to teach kids to save money.

When it comes to older kids remember they are very aware of your attitude toward money. They will notice if you talk about saving money daily but in the end all you do is make impulse purchases. Every time you put money in savings, talk about it why and how much you decided to put. If you put aside some of your tax refund for saving, show them the tax calculator you used to determine how much.  Think of it this way, you don’t want your kids to pick up bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking so you set the example by not doing those things. It’s the same with money management. Set a good example for your kids. If you think that you can’t save money and you live from paycheck to paycheck, you can check out great post on Mommy Edition. Jayme from that blog found 18 (yes, 18!!) ways you can save money on baby necessities like diapers or formula. Check out the post and get inspired.

As you can see, there are many ways to show your kids how to save money, even on some home necessities.

Give Your Child a Piggy Bank

This can be a great teaching tool for your young ones. Preschoolers like to hear the sound of coins dropping in and as they get older, school aged kids understand that as the piggy bank gets heavier, they’re saving money.

Saving goals shouldn’t be complicated. When the piggy bank is full, help your child count the money and let them spend some of it. This will help them learn goal setting and that sometimes in order to get what they really want, they have to save for it. This is the fun way to teach kids to save money. Encourage them to spend money on something fun but useful, as some nice books you can find in my post about best books for toddlers.

Give Your Older Child Increased Responsibility

Usually around the age of nine your kids can start paying for their own non-essential items like games or other toys. This will increase their incentive to save and make them think about how much they really want that action figure.

Introduce a Bank Account

Some banks like credit unions have accounts made especially for your child with special incentives like small prizes. They can learn to set aside their allowance and put it in their bank account for later. This a good way to teach kids to save money.

Teach Teens About Credit Cards

To most kids, a credit card is an easy and convenient way to pay for things but might not realize the extra costs associated with them. Explain how debit and credit cards are different and how credit cards can be used responsibly. Your teen should understand that using a credit card is like taking out a loan that has to be paid back.

Teach Your Kids About Online Shopping

Now that technology is giving us so much more to do, teaching your kids about online shoppingis becoming all too important. They should learn that entering personal information online is a risk because people can take that information and use money that isn’t theirs.

Make rules regarding online purchases. Explain to them who they have to ask and why a parent or guardian has to be there when there is a purchase to be made.

Learning to save money takes practices as we all know. We will make mistakes but those mistakes can turn into lessons that our children can learn from to become savvier adults.

Remember – it’s never too early to teach kids to save money!

*And just for full disclosure, there are affiliate links in this posts “How to teach kids to save money” That means that I’m sharing something that I think is helpful, and if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a little bit back. No extra cost to you, and just a little help for me to pay for the blog expenses.

Tips&Tricks

The Pros and Cons of Pets for Children

There are a number of studies that prove having a pet is beneficial to a child’s emotional, social, physical and cognitive development. One such study that took place in the UK revealed how children who had a dog exercised dog exercised on average 11 minutes more every day than those who didn’t have one. Another study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics proved that young children who had contact with cats and dogs suffered less from respiratory and ear infections than those who lived without pets.

The Pros and Cons of Pets for Children

The Pros and Cons of Pets for Children

The responsibilities

As research appears to indicate, having a pet is beneficial to child development in many ways, which is why it’s important that we take care of our pets as best as we can. This means ensuring that they are fully covered by a pet insurance plan. It also means that we must be fully committed to the responsibilities of having a pet before we make the decision to have one. Even though our children will benefit from having a pet in the house, they might not be able to take full responsibility for its care. Ultimately we need to be ready to take care of our pets in the long-term. We must accept beforehand that the commitment won’t be minimal.

The main benefits

On the upside, running around and interacting with a pet can help children to develop strong motor skills. It can promote physical activity and keep them active. There’s also plenty of evidence to suggest that pets help children to socialize. Interestingly, when Dr. Lisa Wood conducted a study for the University of Western Australia, her findings revealed that cats and dogs are not the only pets that can help children become more sociable. Rabbits and snakes are just two of the household pets that also made the list.
The real beauty of a pet in terms of child development lies in the emotional support that it affords. Animals provide unconditional love and they never judge. They teach children to empathize with others and they provide safe environments in which to make mistakes and express true character without running the risk of not being accepted by others.
An interesting article published by ‘The Week’ also delves into the importance of pets for cognitive development. Children who read aloud to their pets are more likely to develop higher reading skills, according to the results gathered by a study that evaluated a group of second-grade children.

Possible cons to deal with

Even though dogs tend to be a real favorite with children, there’s always the risk of dog bites when small children are involved. There
are a number of breeds that are knowingly gentle with children – including golden retrievers, labradors and beagles – but the possible
risk never goes away and so children with pets must be carefully monitored.

Some parents may find that the death of a pet is an excellent learning curve for children to experience, while others may be concerned about the possible heartbreak that could come from losing a pet at a young age. While children under the age of two might only respond to the pet’s death if he or she senses the stress and sadness in other family members, children between the ages of 5 to 9 already begin to understand death as a permanent state of affairs. As such, the experience could be more traumatic for them.

Choosing the right pet

Choosing the right pet for your child is also very important. Cats and dogs are the most obvious choices, but turtles, birds, gerbils and fish are also great options to consider. While fish don’t offer the cuddly attention that dogs and cats provide, they are really easy for children to take care of and they require very little maintenance.
Birds, on the other hand, are very high maintenance. Their cages need to be cleaned regularly and if your child refuses to take on this responsibility in the long-term, it will become another weekly task to add to your already long list of household chores. The great thing about birds, however, is that they fly. This can be highly entertaining for young children and can get them interested in biology and animal development.

Likewise, Cats and dogs are playful, cheerful and adorable – and kids love them. Their veterinary check-ups, preventive care and maintenance are easier than the other animals. For more information, check out the resources at selfpetcare.

All in all, there are many benefits experienced by children who grow up with pets by their side; benefits that probably outweigh the causes for concern. The only real question you have to ask yourself is whether you are also willing to make a long-term commitment. Remember… a pet is for life.

Tips&Tricks

Shopping for a family winter Break

Getting away for a few days in the winter is a great way for everyone to reconnect and have some fun together. It could be something simple like staying with relatives or a week’s skiing. It is a great way to bust the winter blues.

Regardless, of what type of winter break you decide to take you will need to be ready to cope with bad weather. Everyone needs to be able to wrap up warm and stay dry. That way the bad weather will not keep you indoors.

winter family break

Coats for the men and boys in the family

It is especially easy to find thick coats perfect for a winter break when you shop online. This year, for men and boys, parkas are still widely available. They are a bit shorter than last year’s, but just as warm. Look out for the insulated padded versions and polar jackets. If your partner and sons prefer to wear a lightweight jacket, that is OK. Provided you buy one that is big enough they can easily wear a hoodie or fleece underneath it on particularly cold days.

Warm trousers and tops

Jeans are a great option for a winter break. They are thick enough to keep the wind out, so you usually stay war. Plus, they are not prone to creasing. Another great alternative is jogging bottoms. Potentially, you can layer these items on very cold days.

When buying tops think about wearing them in layers. Combinations of t-shirts, shirts and jumpers of sweatshirts can all work, you just need to select the right colors and styles to be able to wear them in this way.

The right footwear

Boots are the ideal footwear option for a winter break. They are comfortable and provided you buy a pair with soles that are thick enough they will keep the wearer’s feet lovely and warm.

Coats for the girls

For girls and women, parkas are also very popular, this year. The fur-lined hood really makes a difference to how warm you feel wearing one. For extra warmth, buy a full-length version with a fur-lined collar.

Another option is a reversible puffa jacket or coat. They look great and are really versatile.

Warm dresses trousers and tops

Jeans are great, but not every girl wants to wear them or trousers. Fortunately, this year there are some lovely warm dresses available in the shops. Jersey is a great fabric. It hangs well, does not crease and offers plenty of freedom of movement. So, if your daughter wants to wear dresses look at the jersey ones first.

Good quality boots

For little girls, this year, sparkly boots are the big trend. They are fun and there is no reason not to buy them. You just need to make sure that they are well-made and that the sparkle is not likely to come off when they get wet. For women, this year’s big boot trend is ankle boots. They are really practical and work well whether you like wearing jeans or trousers.

You should also not forget the little items. Hats, gloves, scarves and warm socks are also essential. It is best to buy these last. This will make it easier to buy items that fit in well with the rest of the family’s winter clothes.

These are the basic items you need to make sure that everyone stays warm and dry. Now all you have to do is to plan your winter break.