Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

About six months ago I made the liquid homemade version of laundry detergent... and it lasted that long. It worked great, was super cheap, easy to make and I have no complaints about it, but I wanted to try the homemade powdered version as well and see if it worked comparably.

As for ease of preparation, it was incredibly simple. The ratio is like this:

1 bar soap :1 cup Borax : 1 cup washing soda

Many people suggest Fels Naptha, Zote, Ivory or Dove soap. I doubled the recipe and used one Fels Naptha and one Ivory. (The Ivory gave it a great smell.) I have some friends who save the little pieces of soap from the bath/shower and combine those in the mixture.

The soap needs to be grated, and that's as difficult as it gets.

You'll want something with a good seal and a wide lid to keep it in. I mixed mine in a recycled plastic container that was also really good for storing the detergent.

To use, scoop one tablespoon for a regular load and 2 tablespoons for a large or heavily soiled load. It washes just as well as store bought detergent.

I think the benefits of the dry version are how simple it is to make and store. I think the liquid version goes further, but we'll see how long this one lasts.

Have you tried either version? Do you have a preference?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Do You Picture Abu Dhabi?

Which picture comes to mind of everyday life when you hear "Abu Dhabi?"


Or this:

While both pictures were taken in Abu Dhabi, the first was mainly just a tourist attraction and the second is the common, every day life view.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Learning Arabic Starts With the Alphabet

Learning a new language is always challenging, but when you have to learn a new alphabet before you can even read the language, it always adds a new twist to the challenge. When I taught in Guatemala, my Korean students enjoyed teaching me their alphabet and it was fun to use the Korean characters to write messages in OTHER languages to make a code for certain things (like when they did gift exchanges.)

Getting around in Abu Dhabi, especially in the city, isn't looking like it will be too difficult for several reasons, even without knowing much Arabic.

* English is a MAJOR language here. That doesn't mean life wouldn't be easier knowing Arabic, too- just that not knowing it isn't as big of a handicap here as in some places. One of the places where knowing Arabic would be especially handy is when speaking with the taxi drivers.

* The majority of workers (and people in general) here are from the Philippines or India... both of which have a large English-speaking population. Only about 18% of the population is Emirate. The rest are foreigners.

However, it would be a linguistic waste of an international experience to not try to absorb as much Arabic as possible while here. Though, Arabic isn't the only language. Though church is in English, most of the people there speak Tagalog/Filipino as well... so who knows what languages we'll get to learn!

If you would like to see some common Arabic phrases with the English pronunciation beside them, check out: Linguanaut.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

While Waiting

Ben has been in Abu Dhabi since late February and is enjoyin his teaching position. Talia, Elias and I are here until Elias's paperwork goes through a several step process. We are excited that we got placed in Abu Dhabi, the city instead of out in one of the more isolated places. This way, we will be walking distance from almost everything! With public transportation and walking, we won't need a car. The teachers with families are usually placed in an apartment by the beach. In most countries, I don't think I'd like that because of the scantily clad people, but I consider the beach a benefit in an Islamic country. ;)

While waiting on the paperwork to go through we've been enjoying the mild weather, since 100+ degrees will be ready to meet us by the time we get there, playing outside, homeschooling and baking. It seems we've had sets of different kinds of waiting. Waiting to find out where we would go next; waiting for the baby to be born; waiting for Ben's ticket to come so he could get started, and now waiting for our paperwork so that we can then wait on our tickets and get over there too. Something that I find helps me stay sane as a mother is finding ways to establish an easily transportable routine- something that doesn't require a lot of stuff, since most of it is either packed, sold or stored.

Babies have their own routines of eat, play, sleep, repeat; but Talia and I have been really getting into the reading lately. While she has known the sounds of the letters in the alphabet for a while, putting them together to create a word just wasn't clicking for her. Until now! I'm really excited about how smoothly she's been reading words lately. She also enjoys working with numbers, so we incorporate that into a lot of our play. While the spring weather is here, doing school outside has been incredible. Very soon, this won't be an option, so we'll soak it up while we can before we go create a new routine.

How do you stay sane with several sets of impermanent circumstances?