Sunday, July 29, 2012

Am I a hippie?

I've been doing a bunch of research on ways to save money, and to be healthier. With my job, I see so many negative things that happen. If there is something within my power to control, manipulate, decrease exposure to, or change, I want to. Thus, this idea emerged....

Homemade laundry detergent. For years now I have used a brand with no fragrance, no perfumes or dyes, due to allergies. But I sure don't like the price.

Yesterday, I conviced Kelby we should try to make our own detergent. He is not convinced, but went along for now. He believes the clothes will come out dirty. I said we could try it on towels and sheets first. As we walked through the store, he said that I am now a hippie....what do you think?

But the process was so easy! I grated a specific kind of soap (Fels Naptha) , and then melted it in water. In a large bucket, added 3 gallons of hot water, the melted soap, Borax (1/2 cup) and Washing Soda (1 cup)  (NOT baking soda). Mixed everything together, let it sit overnight, and now we have a huge tub of laundry detergent. The best part - Kelby even helped me with the mixing. He wanted to ensure that I wasn't doing anything (too) funky.

Price, including the bucket, was $12, for around 3.5 gallons of laundry detergent. The boxes of Borax and Baking Soap are still mostly full. If, I mean when, we know this works, to make a future batch all I will need to buy is the bar of soap, less than $2.

I'm excited. Will let you know the results... have to wait for some dirty towels. haha

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I finally signed up (and paid) for, and have spent hours and hours on there researching my dad's and mom's side of the family. At times, it is super exciting to find information. Other times, it becomes frustrating and confusing, with multiple people with the same name. If you care to find my tree, it's called Western Family Tree.

Along with the Ancestry website, Google searches have also revealed pertinent information. I was able to find information that was transcribed onto the internet from an old bible. That bible now resides in Herkimer County Historical Society for safekeeping. But here is the information, and it fully matches information I already had discovered. It's almost 3 hundred years of geneology. Awesome!

Western Family Bible

Original owner of the bible: Samuel Whidden

Samuel Whidden  born 9/22/1738, died 3/17/1813 from epidemic fever

                Wife: Sarah Skellions  born 8/19/1738,  died 3/28/1813 from epidemic fever

Children: John Whidden  born 10/7/1766

                  Charles Whidden  born 8/5/1769

*  Sarah Whidden  born 3/6/1772,  died 12/23/1860 (buried in Old Barnes Cemetery, on   Jerseyfield Rd in Western Lot)

*  Sarah Whidden married Deacon Samuel Western (born around 1770, died 9/27/1836)

Children: Jeremiah Western  born 4/27/1795

                  # Joseph Western  born 2/17/1797, died 8/2/1873

                  Melie Western  born 5/15/1799

                  Elias Western  born 7/18/1801, died 6/7/1827

                  “my son” Western  born 10/15/1803, died 10/20/1803

                  Charles Western  born 3/15/1805

                  Joshua Western  born 6/20/1807

                  Eunice Western  born 11/18/1810

# Joseph Western married Hannah Hall

Children: Jason Western  born 1822, married Malida R. Comstock

                  Lydia Western married William Smalley

                  Sylvina Western (died 3/7/1887 Norway, NY) married David Bly

                  Mary Western married George Case

                  Samuel Western married Ann Comstock

                  Benjamin Western  married Sarah Wood on 11/22/1865

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Great Snack

Soft Pretzels
4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 t. kosher salt
1 T. sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 t.)
2 oz. melted butter

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in a bowl or stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit 5 minutes until it begins to foam. Add flour and butter and knead 4-5 minutes. Oil a bowl and put dough in when done. Cover and let rise 45-55 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 10 c. water to a boil with 2/3 c. baking soda. Break off small amounts of dough and roll into a snake-like coil. Shape it into a pretzel form and place into boiling water for about 30 seconds each. Remove and place on greased baking sheets. Beat 1 egg mixed with 1 T. water and brush on the pretzels. Sprinkle kosher salt on and bake for 10-12 minutes. When they are lightly browned, they are done.

I have loved soft pretzels for years and years. But haven't bought them recently because I'm trying to stay away from processed foods. But then I came across this recipe, and just had to try it. And they worked. I have cooked for long enough that I should no longer be surprised when a recipe works as planned, but I was still surprised.

I am super excited that these worked. YUMMMMYYY!!! It was a large batch, so I froze some of them. Kelby wasn’t as excited as I was, but that’s ok. It will be a great snack for me J