Making Laundry Soap

One of the things I haven't gotten around to yet is making my own laundry or hand soap.  This week at Rural King they have all the ingredients on sale for making your own laundry soap.  So I bought them all.  $14 later, I will have enough soap to fill a 5 gallon bucket and last forever.  Wahoo!! :)  I plan on making this sometime this week so it can sit for a few days while we're on vacation (yes, you read that right!  VACATION!!), even though it only requires 24 hours to sit. 

I originally found out about the sale on The Frugal Family which is a blog that's written by Misty, a mom that lives in Central Illinois and keeps up on couponing and sales.  Much easier for me to follow her blog, than scour the ads each week and compare :)  Thanks, Misty!!!

I'll post the "recipe" for the laundry soap once I have it made, since I may tweak the one she has posted.

Has anyone else ever made homemade laundry or hand soap?  Do you any tips or pointers I need to know about??  Let me know, please!!!


Photo Blog is Up and Running!!

So as I mentioned my last post, I've been working around the clock on editing photos this past week for a couple photo shoots I did last weekend.  One was a Senior Photo Session, the other was for a good friend and her "family" who just moved into a new house and wanted to send out some of those "We Moved" announcements with their house and new address.  So needless to say it's been a bit crazy this past week.  It's just been editing, editing, editing!   

Since I finally got all their photos edited and to the appropriate people, I thought I'd get the McEinhart Photo Blog up and going.  Check it out and subscribe to the RSS or follow me on there, in order to stay up to date on everything! 

Needless to say.......


I'm doing something for ME and something that I enjoy wholeheartedly...



Crazy, Busy Days

Hello, my friends!!

I feel like I've been a bit MIA lately.  I've been quickly going to all my daily reads, and throwing up a post here and there, but really don't feel that I've devoted much time to the blogworld lately. 

I've had 4 photo shoots within a 10 day time period.  So between all the photo snapping and photo editing it's been a bit hectic and exhausting in my world.  BUT.. the good news is that I'm about done with the photo editing at this point.  And should have my new photo blog up shortly, so I can share all those details with you soon, as well.

I know, you can't WAIT, can you? :)  Get EXCITED!!


Laundry Room Sign

Awhile ago I came across an ironing board holder on a blog that I follow and finally got around to making one for myself.  It seems that I don't really have a place to put our ironing board so it ends up just being moved around wherever it's convenient in the basement, which is where our laundry room is located.

Here I am in the beginning of the process.  I had just sanded the board down and sprayed on the first coat of primer.

Next, I sprayed on some flat white paint.  Once the paint dried, I pasted on some letters.  Then came the glossy spray paint to set the letters and give the board a glossy finish, since all I had on hand was a flat white.  After it was painted, I attached 2 coat hooks with screws.  As you can tell I used hooks that were smaller so the ironing board could sit on top of the hooks rather than in them on the bottom row.  This way I'll be able to hang some extra hangers or a clothespin bag below.

The finished product was hung in the laundry room across from our washer and dryer.  And yes, we have an UGLY, unfinished laundry room.  Don't judge, we don't own it!! ;)


Garden Update: Half Dead

I'm sure if you're reading this post, you've kept up with the garden updates from the creation of the garden box here, as well as all the updates here, here, and here.

It has been over 4 months since we built the garden and unfortunately we've lost the zucchini and yellow squash.  We had a pretty bad case of squash bugs and didn't realize it.  The zucchini never actually produced anything.  The yellow squash kept producing little guys about 3 inches big, but then they'd dry up mysteriously.

Once we finally decided to call it quits on them, we pulled them both out.  Now over the past couple of weeks we've noticed our cucumbers dying mysteriously.  We've been watering them just as much as the tomatoes and other plants, but for some reason they were drying up.  Then one day we saw the squash bugs.  That was when we finally called my dad, aka Mr. Garden Extraordinaire, and explained the bug situation and he told us to get Sevin, which is a garden bug spray that wont harm (most) veggies, but kills the bugs.

It seems we finally got rid of all the bugs, but now our cucumber plant is dead... BOO!!  We did get one cuke off it and Josh said it was really sweet and delicious.  So hopefully now that we know what to look for, next year will be more successful.

And you can now see the new marigold plant we planted in place of the zucchini and yellow squash.  

Good news is that the tomatoes and jalapenos (not pictured) are doing just fine.  Still not sure how the popcorn is going to turn out.  Fingers are crossed for that one!!


Photo Session: Denise's "Senior" Pictures

Since I am just starting to get my photography business off the ground, my best friend Denise agreed to do some "Senior" pictures for me, which ironically fall around her 10 year high school reunion.

My FAVORITE from the day


**Under Construction**

Hey ya'll!  The blog is going under some major renovation.  Please disregard all the mess right now.  It'll be up and going here shortly.  Sorry for the inconvenience!


Excuses for Bad Food

Recently, when talking to one of my best friends about diet and food, she was expressing her reasoning as to why she doesn't eat healthy.  And I, like most, can agree with her.  Many people don't eat healthy because it seems to be such a "hassle"... well.. it's really not!  It just take a little bit of planning.  Now, I know I'm not an expert by any means, but slowly and surely the hubbs and I have learned to not only pick out healthier options, but also to force ourselves into taking my lunch and picking out healthier options at restaurants.  

Source: singlelifecook.com
Here are the excuses my friend had for not eating healthy, and as I said, I'm sure many people would agree:   
1 - Hate grocery shopping
2 - Spending money
3 - Never know what is needed
4 - Never enough time to thoroughly shop
5- End up buying quick/boxed foods that are horrible
6 - Anything fresh tends to go bad because it's not cooked in time

 As I said before, I've been working on eating healthier and trying to find better options for cooking and eating out.  Below are a few of the things that I've done to make that transition.

Source: Taste of Home
1-  We buy TONS of fresh fruits and veggies and each eat it along with our breakfast and lunch.  Some days fruit is over half of my food intake.

2-We try to buy in bulk to save money and freeze the additional food.  For example, we get a 5 lb package of Turkey from Sam's Club for like $10 and it lasts us approximately 4 weeks (we make a TON of Turkey Tacos!  Yummmm!! :)).  We also buy Coffee, Chicken and Fruits to freeze.  This will give us fresher coffee for longer, the ability to make homemade chicken, and fresh fruits without preservatives at a cheaper price for winter eating and making delicious smoothies.

3- We used to grocery shop on our paydays, which is every 2 weeks.  However, we learned that after the first week we were eating crap, rather than fresh stuff because we'd eaten it all the first week.  Now we shop weekly and just make a BIG trip every month for all the pantry items, since most of the stuff we get is fresh anyways.  This seems to work the best when we set aside a budget for groceries, too.  That way we wont end up buying crap, especially when it isn't in our budget.   

4- Just like my friend, I used to hate grocery shopping.  I think when I started to set time aside for it, and really think about what I was buying, I really started to enjoy it more.  When I would go just because my cabinets were bare and I had NOTHING to eat, I'd just go to grab a ton of expensive pre-made or boxed dinners.  (And...I'm not sure anyone truly LOVES grocery shopping, but it has to be done so your family can eat.)  We tend to shop on Sunday afternoons once we get the newspaper and check out the sales for the week.  Yes, it tends to be busier on Sundays, but it works for us.  Just pick a day that works for you and go weekly. 

5- Lastly, the hubbs and I tend to have a somewhat rotating schedule of meals.  Like I said earlier, we eat turkey tacos at least once a week, and I eat popcorn and an apple as a meal once in awhile as well.  So these are cheaper options and still healthy.  We do change it up once in awhile, but we have our set groceries that we buy each week/month since we consistently eat the same things.  Now, this may sound a bit boring, but we don't eat the same foods from week to week, we have probably 15+ meals that we change around with different sides and veggies.  Its simple and healthy...and we like it.  :)

6- Now if you wanted to take this one step further, you could create a calendar and a meal plan for each day.  That way you know what to purchase each week and nothing, especially fresh foods, will go to waste.  This will help you to always have food on hand, and to eat out less since you can prepare some ahead of time for lunches etc. 

7-Another thing I do is subscribe to food blogs and newsletters.  This constantly gives me new and fun ideas to try.  One of the favorite magazines/websites that I use is Taste of Home .  Their magazine comes out quarterly and gives ideas for holidays, in addition to everyday eating.  A recent blog I started following is called Dashing Dish.  She talks about all of the alternatives to creating healthy, low cal meals to some favorite dishes, desserts and drinks.  I'm totally in love with her site right now!  Yumm!!  No Bake Cookies are by far my FAVORITE thing ever thanks to Josh's Aunt Kim!  And Katie at Dashing Dish has a healthier recipe option listed.  Too bad I didn't find the recipe last night when we made No Bakes.  Bummer!  Guess we'll have to make them tonight! :)

What other things do you do to keep good food in your house, rather than bad food?  I'm always open to additional suggestions as well!


What I'm Reading Now...

In the past few months I've been reading tons of books.  Partially I like to keep my mind occupied, and partially becuase I don't have much else to do.  Ever since our Wedding last year, I've been trying to find new hobbies to keep me busy.  It's hard to know what to do with yourself after planning such a big event... especially one that consumed ALL of your time.

Anyways... the book I've picked up recently is called Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) by Cathie Black.  I'm only about halfway through, but I've really enjoyed it so far.  She is the President of Hearst Magazines, and she gives advice and input on the things she's learned along the way to the top.  It's really interesting the things that she points out.  Some of it seems like such basic information, but so much of it is not practiced on a daily basis. 

Source: Amazon.com

I definitely recommend picking up a copy.

I'm always open for recommendations on a good read if anyone has any.  Personally, I prefer non-fiction, self help, biography type of books... but I'm open to other suggestions as well.  Have you read anything fabulous lately???