Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Left Behind

Every day at 7:35 a.m., the Tan bus on the Razorback Transit line comes to my apartment. Until last week, I always rode that bus to school.
The bus has a notoriously grouchy driver. I always take coffee or tea in my travel mug to school, and it's Razorback Transit policy to have a lid on all drinks on the bus. I know this policy, and I dutifully abide by it. After weeks of the same bus driver picking me up three days a week at 7:35 a.m., one day, he said rather sternly, "You got a lid on that cup? You can't have a cup on this bus without a lid!" I showed him the lid, and he grumbled.
Last Thursday, at 7:30 a.m., I kissed Ross goodbye and opened the door. Just as I did so, the bus whirred by. "You'd better hurry!" Ross said. And I did hurry. I hurried as fast as a slightly overweight, terribly out-of-shape 26-year-old carrying a 40-pound backpack and a hot mug of tea could hurry. The bus came to a quick halt at its designated stop, and I was only about 30 feet away. "Wait!" I yelled. The bus didn't move. I kept trucking it. As I crossed the street, I signaled to the bus driver, who I am almost positive was looking at me through the rear view mirror. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as I approached the rear of the bus.
Just as I got to the bus's tail light, the bus driver DROVE AWAY! I felt so defeated. Ross, who had run outside to see if I'd caught the bus, waved me back to the apartment. "I'll take you to school," he said.
My hero. :-)
Know what? Somebody remind me next week to complain about that cantankerous old bus driver.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Scream, You Scream

When we got married, my friend Angie gave us an $80 gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond. Know what we bought with it?
It's a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment for our stand mixer. And in a word, it ROCKS! All you do is freeze the bowl for a day or so, then you're ready to make a homemade batch of heaven. No rock salt required. For ease, we store ours in the freezer so we can make ice cream whenever the craving hits us. (I say us. Usually, it's just me.)
Here's our favorite recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream, which has been adapted from allrecipes.com.
Ross & Leah's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup sugar (duh! sorry I forgot this!)
1/8 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
1) **IMPORTANT** Do not for one second think about how many calories and/or fat grams this ice cream contains. It's detrimental to your happiness.
2) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together to incorporate sugar.
3) Attach freezer bowl to bottom of KitchenAid mixer. Pour cream mixture into bowl.
4) Attach dasher to the head of the mixer & turn to "stir." Mix for 25 to 30 minutes.
5) Transfer to a 2 qt. container and freeze at least six hours before serving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Liquid

Earlier today, I posted about my homemade powdered laundry detergent. While I do love it, we're switching to liquid for two reasons: (1) the powdered detergent doesn't dissolve all that well, especially in cold-water loads, and (2) I am personally a little uncomfortable with the idea of whirling Borax around in my food processor, then later using the same food processor to chop vegetables for dinner.

We've only used our liquid detergent for one load of sheets, but I think it'll do okay. Here's the recipe!

Leah's Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
1 cup liquid castile soap -- I like Dr. Bronner's lavender, which I bought from my local hippie store out of the bulk soap container
1/3 cup washing soda
1/3 cup baking soda
1/3 cup Borax
warm/hot water

1) Fill a one-gallon container with 1 cup of liquid castile soap
2) Add about 4 cups warm water
3) Add all powdered ingredients slowly. If possible, stir while adding. Alternatively, shake frequently.
4) Fill container with warm water until full.

Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

I should mention that this recipe is adapted from several I found on the interwebs. If you wanna see my sources, see this recipe and this recipe.

Good luck, and let me know if you try it!

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Powder

Yep, that's right. I make my own laundry detergent!

And you know what? I don't care if you think it's nerdy or weird. I'm ok with it! Know why? Because I crunched the numbers.

All Powder: 19¢ per load
Arm & Hammer Powder: 9¢ per load
Cheer Powder: 13¢ per load
Homemade Powder: 4¢ per load

We do about 5 loads of laundry per week, so by using our homemade powder, we're only spending $11.44 on laundry detergent every year. I know my mom will say we're too concerned with money, and deep down I do have some anxiety that I'm going to turn into my Grannie. (Don't worry, though; my hot water heater isn't on "vacation," and I do use my oven regularly - I haven't taken to microwaving everything just to save on the power bill.)

Anyway, I digress. If the cost isn't enough for you to consider making your own detergent, consider the environment! I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know a whole lot about this topic. Apparently, though, phosphates are bad. And also, I guess a lot of laundry detergents contain phosphates. I don't have a clue. My mantra is why not do things that are environmentally friendly, especially when they're cheaper, too? Anyway, consider making your own detergent!

Here's my recipe:
1 bar ivory soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (baking soda is an OK substitute if you can't find washing soda)
optional: 15 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like orange -- smells good & is one of the cheapest essential oils at our local hippie health food store)

Using a food processor or a grater, pulverize the bar of soap.
Add borax and washing/baking soda. Food process or stir until it resembles powdered detergent that you'd buy from the store.
Add essential oil, if using. Food process or stir until incorporated.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

For a visual, go here. If you try it, let me know!

Next up: LIQUID laundry detergent!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

*tap, tap* Is this thing on?

Okay, okay. We'll post more.

Ross and I have been quite busy as of late. We've been doing laundry. And cleaning the house. And cooking dinner. We've also been reading, watching TV, and renting movies from Redbox, which brings me to tonight's topic of discussion...

We rented Duplicity from Redbox a few weeks ago, and for total lack of a better topic, I've decided to review it for you. Here's what we liked about it:
  1. It was $1.
  2. We both stayed awake through the whole thing.
  3. The end is hilarious.
If you're looking for a date-night movie that both of you will enjoy, rent Duplicity. It's suspenseful enough for guys, romantic enough for girls, and...well, it's $1 at any Redbox.

More to come soon!