One of the things that really surprises people about me is that I make my own laundry soap.  I don’t buy that overpriced junk in the stores.  I used to but then I found out if I make my own, it will cost me a penny per load.  Yours costs you a lot more than that, I assure you.   I can make an industrial sized bucket for what you pay for a small jug.  Think about it.  It doesn’t even take that long.

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I normally make mine unscented but I was sent a bottle of Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil to review.  I thought I would give it a shot. Now, I’m hooked!  I love the smell of tea tree oil and it does pretty awesome things too.  There are a ton of uses for the stuff!  I am going to start making different things with it and posting the results since it really is a phenomenal essential oil.  First up is my laundry soap.  I’ve posted this before on a blog that I used to write a long time ago so this is a refresher.

I use the recipe on the Duggar website.  Yes, the family with 19 kids that has a reality tv show.  Their site is chock full of great recipes!

 

Homemade Laundry Soap

This works on top or front loaders and in HE machines.

You will need:

4 Cups Hot Water

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (found in local grocery stores in detergent aisle)

1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (I buy mine on Amazon)

1/2 Cup Borax (found in local grocery store in detergent aisle)

30 drops Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil

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Grate the entire bar of Fels Naptha soap and add to a pot with the hot water.  Simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the entire bar dissolves.  You don’t want any soap left in there because this is the stuff that gets stains out & a little goes a long way!  Once dissolved, pour the mixture into an industrial sized bucket.  Add the Washing Soda (NOT baking soda.  If you use baking soda, your detergent will not work) and the Borax.  Then fill the bucket up halfway with more hot water.  Stir everything until dissolved.

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Once dissolved, fill the bucket up the rest of the way with hot water.  Stir again.  (I use a paint stirring attachment for my drill.  It gets everything nice and blended!  You can also use a broom handle though).  Put the cover on the bucket and let it sit, undisturbed overnight.  In the morning, once everything has cooled, add your tea tree oil.  Then stir everything again.  Gather some detergent bottles and fill each halfway with your soap mixture. Then fill the rest of the way with water.  Each time you use it, you will need to shake it to disperse the soap and the scent.

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The Duggars suggest using this amount per load and I agree:

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

I just mark it on each cap with a sharpie marker.  There you have it.  Easy to make and cheap to use, laundry soap.  Not to mention, it smells great and Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil is a known disinfectant!  For really tough stains, I still use a spray-on stain remover.  Enjoy!

I can’t wait to try more recipes involving Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil.  Stay tuned since the bottle typically lasts around a year for most people!

Check it out here:  Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil Available on Amazon!

 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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One of my favorite vegetables is the zucchini.  It’s incredibly versatile and SO CHEAP in the summer!  Did I mention that it’s freezable and can be used in sweets as well as savories?  What’s not to love!?!?  The possibilities are endless with zucchini.  So when your neighbor asks if you want the extras from her garden…you better freaking take them!

I was a vegetarian for five years so I was always looking for new ways to make vegetables even tastier.   I used a lot of eggplant and zucchini since it was versatile yet inexpensive.  It also fills you up and keeps you full.  These are a few of my favorite recipes as well as a few that I stumbled upon on Pinterest.  You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make these recipes either.  Trust me.  Ina Garten, I am not.  Just follow the recipe (as least for the first go-round).  Substitutions can always wait on the back burner if you are new to this.  If you aren’t already following me on Pinterest, I suggest you do so.  I am somewhat of a Pinterest sensation!  😉  But seriously, just click this link.

Start stocking up on those bad boys and watch your taste buds (and your wallet) thank you.

 

Zucchini ‘crab’ cakes– This is one of my favorite recipes and it really tastes a LOT like crab cakes.

 

Zucchini Bread– This is the recipe that I use all the time.  It’s simple and classic.

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Zucchini Boats– These are delicious and low carb!  They are an alternative to stuffed peppers!

 

Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies–  These sound amazing and I think I’ll try them next!

 

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps– a healthier snack!

 

Zucchini Lasagna– I make this quite a bit since my husband follows a low carb diet. You don’t even miss the noodles.

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75 Zucchini Recipes-a recipe round up, if you will.

 

I hope this whets your appetite!  Like I said, I love zucchini and I love trying it in different recipes.  Here is my Zucchini Pinterest board, where I have quite a few more recipes and instructions on how to blanch and freeze zucchini.  Let me know if you try any anything!  Happy Harvest!

Disclaimer:  While the photos in this post are mine, the recipes are not.  They came from pinterest and many other sites.  I have included a link to each one, in order to give proper credit.

 

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I’ve never been to a Jamba Juice and I only recently joined the Smoothie bandwagon.  I don’t usually try things like this in a retail setting since I refuse to pay $5 or more on a drink.  I was intrigued when I got a coupon for a free bag from Influenster, as part of the Surfs Up Vox Box.  This Jamba Juice, you buy in the freezer section at your grocery store and make it at home.  I liked the fact that it’s frozen, doesn’t involve ice (our ice maker is broken) and the only thing you need to add is apple juice.  I have an abundance of apple juice since I have two small children.  Plus, it wasn’t very expensive, even if I didn’t have a free coupon.

On Sunday morning, my daughter and I decided to break out the blender and give our  Jamba Juice Razzmatazz Smoothie a whirl.  We had some spinach in the freezer so I added that for more vitamins too.  It was so quick and easy to make.  My daughter liked pushing the buttons for me.

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It probably took about two minutes to blend and it made two servings.  We loved the taste too!  You can’t taste the spinach, so the berries tasted very fresh and delicious!  We really enjoyed it.  I would definitely buy these again and I would like to try the other flavors.  It makes a quick, healthy breakfast and it’s all natural.  What’s not to like?!?

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I was reading other reviews and one said that said Jamba Juice smoothies tend to go on a Buy One Get One Free sale at her local grocery store so I’m going to keep an eye out for that too.  They come in a nice variety of flavors and you can check them out here:

http://www.jambajuice.com/more-jamba/jamba-goods/smoothie-kits

Like I said above, you can find them in your local supermarket.

Have you ever made smoothies at home?  Do you prefer a mix or do you like to create them yourself?

Disclaimer:  I received a free coupon from Influenster for the product above.  No other compensation was received.  All comments and/or opinions are my own.

 

 

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I love the beach!  We are lucky enough to live close to one of the best beaches (in my opinion).  One of the things I love about the beach is the salt air and the way that it gives a new texture to your hair!  I recently got the chance to review Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe shampoo and conditioner.  I was a tad skeptical at first because I have oily hair and the bottle said it gently cleanses.  Sometimes I feel like I need a heavy duty shampoo or I am forced to wash my hair every single night.  I had nothing to worry about though since this stuff was awesome.  It made my hair look, feel and smell great!  The sample lasted the better part of a week too so I was able to really give it a go.  In the summer, it’s hot so I wear my hair up a lot.  I was able to get a perfect ponytail with this set.  It didn’t make a ton of suds either and I like that.  It was a creamy formula so I could really work it into my scalp.  I was even able to skip a night of hair washing, which really made me happy because sometimes, I just need that extra 10 minutes of sleep, am I right?!?!

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Another thing I love about the Not Your Mothers Brand is that you can purchase it in the drug store.  I don’t have to go to a certain place that might have weird hours or spend a ton of money.  I can go to my local CVS, which is 24 hours and grab it when it’s on sale!    I like the fact that I can have beach hair all year long too.  Not Your Mother has an entire line of Beach Babe products like Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Cream and Sea Salt Spray.  I suggest you go try it out.  You won’t have to break the bank if you do.  You can check them out here:

Site:  http://www.nymbrands.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NYMBrands

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nymbrands

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nymbrands/

Disclaimer: I received complimentary products in exchange for my review from Influenster.  No other compensation was received.  All comments and/or opinions are my own.

Last week, we just got home from vacation and I had to start planning a birthday party for my baby.  Needless to say, it’s been a little hectic over here.  But, like my mom says, “If you want to really clean your house, throw a party!”  Because then you have a deadline.  I love throwing parties.  It gives you an excuse to try new recipes and have friends over.  But enough about that, here is a photo of what’s been turning up in my mailbox lately.  I probably forgot a few things since our dining room table is a mess and with all the stuff going on, I’m lucky to post at all!  Haha!

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My haul included:

  • A personalized sticker for my Disney family from the Disney Website
  • Bath salts and a bath soap from a twitter contest & @JoyfulBathCo
  • A personalized Aveda lotion from their birthday club!
  • Supergoop Sunscreen, sunglasses and book that I won from a twitter party with #birchbloggers
  • Various samples and a coupon book from P&G
  • A lighter from Marlboro
  • Postcard from the NY Aquarium
  • Book from a #birchbloggerbookclub giveaway
  • Dog tag from Purina
  • Book from a @scholastic contest on twitter
  • My Disney Vacation planning DVD (I get one every year!) from the Disney Website

I was happy!  What have you been getting in the mail?  I would love to know!  Have a great week.

 

Disclaimer: On Mail Call posts, I only post things that I’ve received 100% free in the mail.  They come from samples, giveaways, contests, etc.  I haven’t put any money out to receive anything pictured.

Awhile back, I posted on my Facebook page that I had gotten a phenomenal deal at Victoria’s Secret.  It was so good that I can’t resist sharing it with everyone.  It even surprised me!   I am not usually one to shop in Victoria’s Secret since I think it’s fairly expensive.  I am a cheapskate, remember?  Also, there really isn’t one close to our house.

I had received an email from them about their new sports bras and a promotion where if you tried one on, you got a card that had a mystery discount.  Again, the closest one to us is an hour away and trying on sports bras with two young kids did not sound like my idea of fun.  Discount or no.  Upon further inspection of the email, I saw that they created a really cute hash tag on their twitter called #SportbraBreakup.  They encouraged women to break up with their old sports bra.  I used the hash tag and wrote ‘You are supposed to lift me up and you only pull me down.’  Something along those lines. I thought it was cute and fun! Well, anyway, I got a DM from Victoria’s Secret that I received a coupon.  I opened it and I had won a free sports bra!

I really needed a new one so I decided to make a trip to the mall to cash in my prize asap.  My friend went with me and watched the kids while I tried a few things on.  Let me tell you, this is the best sports bra that I have ever owned.  Say goodbye to uni-boob because this beauty lifts, separates and supports!  The Semi-Annual Sale was going on too so I figured it would be an excellent time to use my gift card that I won at Christmas.  Victoria’s Secret has a wonderful social media presence.  I love it because they give tons of stuff away.  I won this $25 gift card at Christmas on twitter for being on their #VSNiceList.

I picked out a sports bra (any new one that I wanted, I was told.)  But I had to get it shipped to me since they were out of my size.  They shipped it to my house for FREE!  I also picked out another bra from the sale and a cute pair of pajamas.

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Guess how much I paid for this?  I’ll give you a hint.  The retail value is $156.50.

I paid $14.98.

Here’s how I did it.

I got the sports bra for free.  As I said, I won it on twitter.  It was originally $56.50 (Woah.  Can you imagine?!?!)

The bra was $48 marked down to $24.99.

The pajama set was $52 marked down to $29.99.

That totaled $54.98

I had a $25 gift card that I also won on twitter.

I signed up for a Victoria’s Credit Card, which I have paid off since and got $15 off my order that day.

That takes the total to a measly $14.98.  I figured that we could afford that. 😉

I suggest you check out Victoria’s Secret the next time the Semi-Annual Sale rolls around.  You never know what you’ll find.  Plus, be sure to follow them on social media.  Again, you never know what pops up.  What was the best deal you’ve ever gotten?

Disclaimer: This post is in no way affiliated with Victoria’s Secret.  I just wanted to brag a little about my great deal.  Enjoy!