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Monday, May 20, 2013

Homemade Laundry Recipe (part 2)

It's been a few years since I first posted that I was making my own laundry detergent and the topic recently came up again.  I'm going to get right to the recipe so you don't have to scroll through all my chat..but I encourage you to read post recipe because I explain a few of the reasons this recipe is so awesome.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
Quantity: Makes approximately 5-6 gallons
Time:  20 minutes hands-on, 24 hours total

Supplies:
1)  5 Gallon Bucket ~Or~ Large canning pot (I use this pot for hot jar canning (which means no food touches the interior) so it's safe for soap, and I have two uses for one item...yay!
2)  Water
3) Fels Naptha (1/3 of a bar, grated)
4) Borax (1 cup)
5) Washing Soda (1 cup)
~optional~
6) A dash of baking soda
7) Essential Oil (lavender or orange are my faves)

Directions
Step 1:  Grate 1/3 of the Fels Naptha and place into a 4 quart sauce pan.
That line is my super scientific and accurate 1/3rd mark

Step 2:  Add 8 cups of water to the pan and turn water on high heat and cook until it dissolves...about 10 minutes.

An 8 cup Pyrex dish makes this so much easier
~Make sure you have the large pot in a place where it won't be in the way for 24 hours.  You will not want to move this once it's full.~







Step 3:  Start to pour 14 (8 cups is 2 quarts) quarts of water into your big pot.  The water should be hot, either straight from the tap or warm water from the tap and some boiled water from the stove.

Step 4:  Add the Borax and the Washing Soda to the hot water in the pot/bucket and stir to dissolve.  Add your dash of baking soda now too.


Step 5:  Pour the hot dissolved Fels Naptha/water combo into the pot/bucket.  Give it a quick stir and cover.

Step 6:  24 hours later, open container, stir and break up with a whisk.  Grab 5 gallons worth of containers (or so).  We use the double gallon containers* that originally housed our detergent from Costco.

Step 7:  Grab a funnel and a liquid measuring cup.  (I use my 4 cup measure for this). Scoop and pour.  That's all! (oh, and add some essential oils now if you are up to it.  Several drops should do it.)

* A lot of these containers have an insert that allows you to control pouring the detergent.  They are great for pouring out, but terrible for pouring IN, which is what we are doing.  We have cut them out before, but a lot of the brands can be removed if you oh so carefully wedge a butter knife between the insert and the outer shell and pry...then you can put it back once the container is full of your fabulous homemade detergent!...Please use caution and good sense if this is what you decide to do. (I make the dude do it because I am too much of a clutz for this.)


So many friends ask me about this process and all i can say is it's just super easy and do-able.   If you want a cost breakdown plus the link to the recipe I originally used please click on ME! I have been doing it for so long and I have made many adjustments to make it work...for me.  There are plenty of recipes out here in the wild web...but I like this one best, and here is why:

#1 Reason: I use FELS NAPTHA bar soap.
Fels is a soap for laundry.  A lot of recipes call for all-natural soap of the regular variety and I know where this comes from.  Some makers complain about the strength of Fels...in that it is TOO strong.  It can cause the detergent to become far too solid if, and a big if here, you use too much of the soap.  It is strong stuff. But the other bar soaps I have used, frankly, do not keep up with my family.  With Fels I can get rid of fabric softener and any stain that meets my Fels detergent fails to compete.  With regular bar soap, grass stains and fabric softener stay.  In order to prevent the soap from being too thick, I only use 1/3 of a bar now, which is still better at cleaning out stains then the other soaps and also significantly less money.

#2  Ease of use.
I don't like all these recipes that have recently sprouted up that seem to encourage lots of extra work.  Why would you want that?  I don't know.  Every time I have made this recipe I am surprised by how little time/effort it takes.  I encourage you to look for even more ways to make this recipe shorter and easier.

I could go on, but who wants that?  Now go, go make yourself some detergent!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent

  



  



  

Day 1
Our elf, Christopher Pop In Kins (get yours!) made his appearance on the first of December along with our Christmas tree. After the tree was decorated, his sister Christina joined us. But before that, we all settled in to watch Jim Carrey's Grinch.  Mike and I exchanged a lot of sideways glances during the film...it's so interesting to see how much "Family movies" have changed over the years.  We fell asleep that night to the howling of the wind. Storms this size are rare, and when we see one it's always as if for the first time.

 

Day 2
We awoke to a much quieter morning and assessed the damage done in the dark of night.  A large branch from our neighbors Oak had fallen into our yard, it's tan membranes as vivid as blood in the otherwise muted landscape.  The girls wrote their letters to Santa. B asked if we could make sure to leave the fire off on Christmas Eve, "so Santa can safely get down the chimney...".  That afternoon B and I attended a mom and daughter tea at a classmates home. The company was as nice as the respite from the weeks long rain.

  


 

Day 3
Monday was beautiful...and freezing. School is still in session and the girls were excited to return even though I was ready to stay in bed a while longer.  The dude had asked me to "be really excited when they see the elves this morning because I can't be there" and I tried my best.  As it was I had to wake the kids up and rush them downstairs to "look for the elves" before they did it on their own and I missed them.  They were so delighted to see the elves had cracked open the Santa letters and were reading them on the mantle.  When we return from school the girls helped make cinnamon applesauce ornaments. It's easy but messy and the copious cinnamon began to irritate my hands.

  



  



 

Day 4
Poor B was up all night feeling ill and somewhere around 3 am she started in with a full blown stomach flu.  Needless to say, we were all pretty tired today...and B, once her stomach had settled some was falling asleep in fits and starts through out the house. We strung the ornaments, reserving two for their ballet instructor which were accompanied by a lovely card from Mae. B had just enough energy to voice some constructive feedback in the making of both but later was well enough to string our ornaments on the tree.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Baby Jesus bites!

Mae is super excited about her first Christmas skit. This whole week, pretend play between the girls has consisted of Santa Clause (Mae) taking care of Baby Jesus, (B).

Best quotation? "Maaaaaoooooom! Baby Jesus bit me!!! No biting baby Jesus!"

We were asked to bring small treats to tonight's performance and I wanted to try something a little different. Wanted to or couldn't help it. Anyway-this pumpkin muffin recipe is courtesy of two different kitchen artists. The muffin itself is courtesy of my friends sister and chef of newly minted restaurant Catelli's. The food and atmosphere there are excellent (don't take my word for it), but the recipe comes from her book: Mom~a~licious. Dominica has made a name for herself not only as a chef but also as an advocate for healthier children. I adore her book and her website, because the food is packed with flavor and allows your children to develop a taste for gourmet without making it a battle. Check it out!

Muffins:
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chia seeds, ground (use a coffee or spice grinder) (I often use flax meal.)
1 cup whole wheat or whole grain flour
1/2 cup white unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (16 oz) organic pumpkin (make sure only pumpkin is in the ingredients)
2 eggs
1/4 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1 cup maple syrup)
1 tablespoon vanilla
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Process:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients.
  2. Fold the wet ingredients (fold in nuts now if you are using them) into the dry ingredients and spoon into paper-lined muffin or greased muffin tins.
  3. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
  4. Store completely cooled muffins in sealable plastic bags in the freezer.

The muffins are moist and decadent and have no sugar (using maple syrup as a substitute). DM states on her site: "Pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health. Current studies link diets rich in foods with beta-carotene to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer and protection against heart disease."

For today's special treat--which is to be provided for Mae's musical performance and celebration of "Jesus' birthday"--I wanted to add a sweet topping.

This is where SmittenKitchen comes in. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous blog. I am using the recipe that goes with her pumpkin muffins. I wanted to do a cream cheese frosting but continue the flavor base of maple syrup that started with the muffins. (I'm NOT attempting to try the roses on her muffins.)

Frosting:

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

Finally, I added a sprinkling of Cinnamon sugar...not because the kids need it, but because I had to hide my seriously flawed attempt at icing muffins.

*It's beyond imperative to use pure maple syrup. If you have been relying on the generic brands...you are missing out! In fact, I hated maple syrup until I finally had the kind that actually comes from trees. Although slightly pricier, if you have a Costco membership, you're golden. Kirkland brand has a delicious option of pure maple syrup for only twelve dollars.

Can't see the forest or the trees

All right, maybe the title exaggerates.  A little.  However, if you feel this sudden driving urge to send me money, don't fight it.  Let me take you back to the start of all of this.

We were at the play Wicked (best musical spasm ever!) and as we were headed out I remarked at the slight disappointment I felt that we could hardly make out the faces of the actors, because of where we were seated, at least that's what I thought.  Dude was incredulous.

Dude:  "What do you mean, 'we'?  I saw their faces just fine!?!"


Me:  "Are you trying to mess with me?  Elphaba was just a green blur..."

~Now is when Dude begins to test my vision.  (Not because he imagines himself a Dr. It's part of our marital agreement.  Or it would be if we had a marital agreement.  Premature vision problems and helper monkeys.  He's dying for some helper monkeys.)~

Dude:  "Can you make out what the poster says over there?" Points to a poster about 30 feet away...

Me:  Yes, three old ladies sitting on a park bench talking."


Dude:  Are you serious right now?! (Grinning...he clearly "sees" helper monkeys in our near future.)

Me:  Are you still messing with me?

Dude:  "Um....That's three dogs sitting around a poker table.  You need to get that (motions at my whole face)  looked at."

Me:  "It's not leporsy, you don't have to walk so far away from me."  (As he steps away from me by about a foot.)

Dude:  "You can still see me?  Must get further away..." (steps two feet away from me.)


Me:  "Not regretting this marriage thing at all."

Dude:  Laughing at me.  Hard.

So, over the next few months I pretended I had no vision problems, which made things like sitting in the back of an evening Computer class more of a challenge.  Today I finally called my PCP (Primary Care Physician for all of you all who aren't in the know) and this is how that conversation went.

Dr:  Tell me your symptoms.

Me:  Well, I have a hard time seeing things in a distance.  Anywhere from 30 feet on.

Dr:  All right...

Me:  There's more.  I think I get Tunnel Vision.

Dr:  "What do you mean you have 'Tunnel Vision'?  Can you describe your version of that for me?"  (It's like she knows me.)

Me:  "Um...yeah.  What is tunnel vision?  I'm not sure.  But sometimes when I am looking at the computer screen the screen gets all blurry and I can only make out what's going on in the dead center of where I am looking."

Dr:  That IS tunnel vision.

Me:  "Yes!  I mean, not 'yay! I have tunnel vision,' but 'yay!  I was right about what it's called.'"

Dr:  Um, all right.  Any other symptoms?

Me:  Yes.  Around Christmas, I was entering the house from my garage.  The lights were off in the garage but on in the house.  As I entered the room I saw my whole family sitting around in what looked like massive amounts of smoke.  I mean, it looked like the fireplace farted in our living room.  But everyone was just sitting there, calmly chatting away.  So...I start sweeping my arms maniacally around me from side to side and screaming, 'OH MY GOD!  WHAT HAPPENED IN HERE?  WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING?'  And they all stare wide eyed at me as I crouch, walking wide legged through the room, still sweeping my arms.  I'm in complete shock, they seem completely undisturbed by the smoke in the room.

As they begin to ask, 'Why are you doing that?'  the room begins to clear, and seriously, at first I think that my arm sweeping solved this smoke problem...but no.  There was no smoke problem.  Why did I see smoke?? (It turns out...the older you get the harder it is for your eyes to adjust from a dark room to a well lit room.)


Rose: All right!  I'm giving you the number to the Ophthalmologist.  You are going to hang up right now and call them for an appointment.

Me:  What does my fear of spiders have to do with vision loss?

Dr:  (I'm pretty sure she muttered 'that girl needs helper monkeys' before she hung up.)

Update:
So my eye test came back normal...as in I have 20/20 vision.  The Ophthalmologist (who does not study arachnophobia BTW) is pretty sure that I have tired eyes and I need to become accustomed to not having better than average vision. (He actually called me: "highly sensitive to slight changes"--truer words were never spoken).  When I asked him about the play and not seeing so well he told me I could either dump a bucket of cash on prescription glasses I might use infrequently at best, or to just buy better seats next time.  I vote for the latter.  So take that guy who married me!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Make some detergent!

I started off thinking...how ridiculous.  Make my own detergent?!?  And then I remembered that I love doing ridiculous, overly complicated, messy projects (Chestnut Soup from scratch, anyone?).  I especially love when I tell people about these projects and they stare wide eyed at me in shock and horror. They never ask me to watch their kids, so I am going to call that a win.

So when I first saw the blog on how to make this liquid detergent...I saved it on my Pinterest board, and moved on.  After we had polished off two giant (Costco sized) containers of detergent and one gallon milk jug...I ran over to Oliver's for some supplies.   I provided ingredient images, and you can click on the images to go to the product web page.  (It will open in another tab).  The wonderwoman from whom I got this recipe has some excellent photos of the process that you can see by clicking the above link.  I doubled the recipe and added orange essential oil.  You can see my version, my thoughts and  the full cost break--down following the images.



Recipe:
Feel free to halve it
Courtesy of Why Not Sew (please look there for her great step by step pictures, but know that I changed the recipe a tad.)

Items:
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Washing Soda
1 Bar of Fels Naptha
(a couple drops of essential oil)
a huge pot ( I use my canning pot because it only holds closed jars...not food.)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
 5 empty gallon jugs


1.  Grate your soap into your pot.
2.  Add one gallon of water to pot and heat.
3.  Cook until soap dissolves.  (less than 10 minutes)
4.  Add borax and washing soda.
5.  Bring to a boil (it will thicken)
6.  Turn off heat and stir well
7.  Add two more gallons of cold water.  Let cool.
8.  Using the funnel, pour into the jugs.  (Enjoy the smell of your kitchen!)

It will coagulate more and more as it cools.  When we use our detergent it comes out in plops... and the initial load forced us to squeeze the tub a tiny bit.  It works very well even though it doesn't behave exactly like store bought detergent. It also seems to sometimes be randomly thicker.  This is STRONG detergent and benefits from more dilution if you are up to it.


Cost Break--down
Essential Oil:  $5.89 for .25 fluid ounces
20 Mule Team Borax:  $4.29 for 76 oz  (On-Line, I paid $2.80 in store)
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda: $2.50 for 55 oz
Fels Naptha:  $2.19 for 5.5 oz bar.

I got all these prices today and on-line.  I spent less by buying at a locally owned store.  I also had previously purchased the orange oil, and used only a few drops.  Here is what the total cost for my loads of laundry.

 Total without oil:  $8.89
With Oil:  $14.87
Taxes not included...I will be as specific as possible, but I have no idea what local taxes you may be working with and if you buy on-line...well, that's another story entirely.

What I used for my recipe:

2 cups each of borax and washing soda = 16 oz of each product.
For Borax, it costs less than 6 cents for each ounce so...
(.056 x 16 ounces) 16 ounces of Borax = 90 cents.
You then have 60 oz remaining of Borax, which will yield 3.75 more attempts at the recipe (that is doubled).

Washing soda cost less than 5 cents an ounce so...
(.045 x 16 ounces) 16 ounces of Borax = 72 cents
You then have enough for 3.3* more attempts at the doubled recipe. 

Fels Naptha:  I used one bar for this recipe because it is a very strong soap cleaning soap.
$2.19 for one recipe.

Total recipe cost (excluding the estimate for oil because I used less than one ounce, and I am not even going to attempt that math!!)
$3.81
How much did we make?
This much.  Yikes!  

The big guys are 210 ounces each.  A gallon is 128 ounces, but let's round down because our jug wasn't completely full.  Let's say we made 540 ounces of detergent.  Assuming you use 1/2 cup (or about 4 ounces) of detergent you made 135 loads.  

Cost Per Load: .028 or 3 cents a load. 

But this assumes you need a heavy dose of detergent.  The detergent boxes that we bought say they contain enough for 105 standard loads.  If we do it their way, at 2 ounces a load:
270 loads of laundry at .014 cents a load.  That's less than 2 cents a load, people!

For fun, let's go back and look at how much this product cost us and total up how much it would cost to make it three more times.

If you buy three more bars it will cost you a little less than $16 dollars to make detergent that will wash somewhere between: 540 and 1080 loads of laundry. And you still have some borax and washing soda to use for other cleaning projects.  

We bought the ECO costco brand detergent for about $14 dollars a jug.  This cut the price to less than half.  But that's not all...

Noticeable Benefits to making your own detergent

1)  Clothes smell great.  (they smell faintly of orange and do not have that cheap laundry mat detergent smell--I was sort of concerned about this--not sure I should own up to that.)

2)  Clothing is much softer.  We have don't use fabric softener and have since stopped using dryer sheets.  (Which saves more!)  Even my husband has noticed the difference.

3)  Clothes are getting as clean as they were before.  I successfully washed bloody nose damage out of sheets...without bleach people.

4)  No Suds (Which I hear is good for HE washers, not that we have one).  


My Take:  I love it.  The recipe was stupid easy to make.  I'm actually embarrassed it took me so long to try it.  So there.  Try it. Love it.  Pass it on.



*Did you note the difference between the two washing detergents?  So say you use this recipe three more times and have left overs of both soda and borax.  Great news.  The cleaning agents can be used in almost everything.  (I recently sprinkled some borax on a wet bed...it took up all of the odor and most of the moisture.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Good Advice

There are a lot of things going on.  And I will try to tackle them on a more regular basis.  But first I wanted to share a little anecdote about being a mom while simultaneously trying to be a know-it-all.

My friend has been having a real challenge getting her 3.5 back onto the toilet training.  They were almost 100% successful just after her 3rd birthday pretty much accident free, then the mom had to go on and have another kid.  So her middle child, and only daughter, has been shall we say, testing her mom.

Let's be clear:  this kid is seriously cute.  And seriously smart.  She knows exactly what she's doing.  After several stressful months of running her to the potty every thirty minutes, potty charts, rewards, you name it; mom gave up the ghost and put her back in pull-ups.  (On my recommendation.  This particular mom is a way better mom than me, but can you imagine taking care of a newborn while chasing down a reluctant potty trainer?!?  Because I totally can.  And did.  And failed at it.  I am all about telling other moms to quit while they are ahead; so I am not alone in my mom shame.)

Anyway.  We spoke again last night.  Her daughter is flagrant about the  potty training.  She says things like, "Mom!  One day I am going to go potty on the toilet and get a reward!  Won't you be so happy?!?"  Then mutters under her breath, "I am never going on the potty." The further away you are from this battle, the funnier it appears.  Which is why I try not to LOL when I hear these stories.  Now mom is asking me, should I penalize her for not going?  Should I take away reading extra stories at bed time?  Should she miss out on gymnastics?

I respond:  "You can do that.  But you know you are going to feel like crap if you put your 3 year old in a shame spiral over something that will resolve in time.  Why?  Because you love your children, you are a good mom.  The more energy you give it, the more energy she will give it.  So you will both be unhappy, your kids will get a nervous for nothing."

My oldest, btw, didn't potty train until she was four.  Although she displayed all the signs, every time I introduced a "potty training" method, she was highly resistant.  And it was super painful for both of us until I let it go.  And right before she turned four I said, "OK.  Mommy is done changing diapers, so you either go in the toilet or you clean yourself up.  Because if you don't go in the potty, you can't move into the next room in preschool."  I also had the advantage of a younger child who had been ready for two years so they were each others motivation.  They were potty "trained" immediately.  No accidents.  No yelling.  No more diapers.  Sometimes waiting for the kid to be ready is the right way to go.

So I share this advice all stoic and all-knowing and been there beforeing.  And she says, "thank you, you're totally right"  (or that's what I heard.)

Then today my youngest comes down stairs with an extra hop in her step.

"MommyMommyMommy!!!!!!!!   Guess what!?!?!?!?"

"What b?"

"I peed on the blue towel!!  BaHAHAHAHAH"

"Very funny.  Wait, what?!?  Did you really pee on the towel?!?"

"Yes I did, hahahahahah!  I am so funny!!!!"

"Why?"

"Mae told me to so I did!!!!"

So, yay.   Whether they be new borns that take away our "baby" title, or older siblings who convince us to pee on the floor:  God bless siblings.


And god bless the mom that thinks she has all the answers.  Seriously God, that woman needs help.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gluten Free Pancakes


Ever since the Cinch starvation method, er, uh, "cleanse" I have been evolving away from eating foods that contain Gluten.  And by that I mean I have been eating less and less (partially paralyzed by my seeming lack of choices, but mostly rebelling by restricting my new diet even more.  I'm nothing if not self-destructive.)  Through this I have come to learn that I am not the kind of person who should ever deprive herself of food.

We all know I bake and cook (sometimes really, really well, and sometimes I fail with such flamboyance that it's hard not to appreciate my attempt anyway).  However, since this recent GF (that's short for "gluten free") kick, I have been increasingly timid at trying my favorite wheat based recipes.  Needless to say, there has been a ton of rice and potatoes in this house.  I did go purchase all the right gluten free baking products though, and they have proceeded to glare menacingly at me from the back of our pantry while I chose the whole wheat flour for banana muffins or the pastry flour for pie crust.  The worst part about continuing to bake with the regular flours is that I was making food I couldn't eat.  It's very frustrating to have the whole house scented with fresh baked muffins, to have a pile of dishes with my name on it, and yet it is my husband, stuffing his face with two mini's, who gets to vote on whether the recipe succeeded or not.

I found myself in quite the self-jarred pickle this morning.  While I kept baking with the wheat flour we already had, I found myself unwilling to restock it as it depleted.  Around 7:30 in the am, I decided to make pancakes...got the egg out, mixed it with the milk, added the melted butter went to the pantry and...no more wheat flour.  But the Gluten Free flour and xanthan gum were there, just sitting in their containers all superior like.  I have been reading and loving the blog/web page Gluten Free Girl and the Chef for two months now, and I envy that husband and wife team for conquering things like quiche, pie crust, and more.  (I insist you check them out if you are going Gluten Free, they, unlike me, actually know what they are doing.)  And while I have yet to try any of their recipes, I know that it is because of their work that I went into my pantry and stoically grabbed my GF products.


I made this by guessing (and using the basic measurements found here: at AllRecipes.com) and it turned out pretty good.  Here is the recipe:

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum *
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted


In a large bowl, mix (or sift....though I did not) together the flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, turn to medium low, and add a thin slice of butter. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Wait until the pancake's bubbles are holding their own then flip.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.



* A little note to say that some people who have been gluten free for a long time report that xanthan gum is giving them stomach problems.  I have not looked into this very much as yet, but, again, the Gluten Free Girl has some great recipes without it. Have a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sisters Wedding

My sister is married.  ugh.  I am so happy for her and her new husband.  Here are some of my favorite wedding details.  This is truly a DIY wedding, and Erin was the one doing it.  This wedding is like seeing inside her brain, and as usual...she inspires me.  Her creativity and great eye, made this wedding as beautiful as it was.  Of course, there were a lot of other people who contributed to the execution of this gorgeous, albeit wet, day.  I have thus made an effort to link to people's web sites so if you really, really, like something you can get to that person and let them know...or give them your business.  :) 

These wedding shoes.  Bagley Michka's "Randi"...Nice touch, no? ;)


This face.  (Ruby was allowed to take a couple pictures, this may have been one of them.)


The jewelry...OK, I'm tooting my horn here:  I found this beautiful vintage bracelet at a store in Railroad square.  (see my bridal shower post)  I wasn't sure she loved it or was just being kind to me, so it was a true joy that she wore it on her wedding day.


The handkerchief that our great grandmother embroidered and we inherited.  I also used it for my wedding.  Such a pretty, sweet, touch (and I am so so so grateful I found it before we flew to NY).

This amazing house.  Which you can totally rent on VRBO.




Our totally rad bridesmaid gifts from Plum Pretty Sugar.  Also made for some great photo ops.



Her totally beautiful two piece wedding dress, which her man completely loved.  Haute Bride was where we found THE dress.  The store has some of the best customer service and true one-on-one attention that I have experienced.



These guys (barn on farmhouse property...where pictures were planned.  However, it started to dump about fifteen minutes after this picture was taken.)  The guys however, are fabulous.  And it was a true gift that Grooms big brother was able to get leave for this day.  


These fabulous, fabulous, fabulous bridesmaid dresses that I had absolutely no part in picking out (other than repeatedly showing the bride the J.Crew catalog.)  We got these dresses for less than $100, they looked pretty good on every one of our varying bodies, and were made of 100% cotton...so the quality was totally there.  I also got my sash from J.Crew.


These ridiculously cute flower girls.


My "warrior" husband (who went back and forth from "Price Chopper" no less than three times the day of, bought extra umbrella's and handled a lot of last minute wedding logistics.  It's only part of why he rocks...and I am so lucky to have him as my team mate


My speech, which thankfully passed muster.  We ended it by serenading the couple... All You Need Is LOVE~


The cake.  Made by Grooms SIL.  And also the sash.  (This is the second part of the night where Bride changed into her "short dress" and I loved the sash touches, pewter and pink.)  



Me being lucky enough to have been gifted with a sister.  So blessed.  


This amazing bridal party.  These girls were such good friends to my sister...as I said at her shower: the company you keep is a testament to the kind of person you are...and these fantastic girls are proof that my sister is as wonderful as I think she is.


This face.  Ugh, my heart breaks at the cuteness.

b

...and this face too.  Prettiest bride.  The flowers aren't bad and I was lucky enough to be able to contribute.  We traveled to Onienta the day before the wedding and found some pretty, white, garden flowers and some spider mums at Wyckoff's florist.




The secondary photo location.  Planned on pictures at the farmhouse but the mini-monsoon determined otherwise.  Still, this covered bridge was by no means a second place...



This "guest book" idea Erin came up with.  She had guests write thoughts down for the couple to open on certain anniversaries.  Love!  (also love the burlap runners)


My sisters new MIL made these gorgeous seating charts...


A little bit of SF in NY.  The tables were named after locations in San Fran.  Erin printed and made each of these table "numbers" herself.  Notice the cork card holders?


And she made these little guys too.  Heart shaped cookie cutters with a self stamped label.



The grooms cousins were so instrumental in the making of this day...How much do we love the "tux" napkins?

Gorgeous garden roses.


Pictures of the bride and grooms parents on their wedding days.


I can't believe I'm adding this, but...the rain.  It made the day different, yet beautiful, and it let the love and care that everyone had for the couple really shine.  


These dresses.


Made by Christina's alterations.  She altered two bridesmaid dresses for me, my mom's dress, and made these for my girls.  I LOVE her.  She is friendly and very skilled.


These wellies.  We grabbed these for erin right before we left the farmhouse...Found them in the mud room.  They were definitely NOT part of the plan.  But perfect.


These caterpillars that descend from the trees like elongated snowflakes.  Just don't tell anyone I said this, apparently they are huge garden pests.



The decore.  I especially love the cigar boxes filled with Hydrangea's.  Great job, sister.


The photo booth.  Bride had every table go to the picture booth as they were excused for grub.  The couple also provided a "treasure box" full of the ridiculous items we are seen wearing.  The backdrop was picked up at a super wal-mart.  Haha


The party attitude that everyone brought with them.  About three dozen people made the lengthy trek from coast to coast, and the rain didn't damper any spirits.  (Oh, and the flower girl is wearing Toms).  This location is where the cocktail hour would have been hosted, had the rain ever stopped...


The photographer. Super professional...and what. an. eye.  They might be willing to come to Cali...check them out.  Korver Photography


The location.  Finally.  Thanks goes to the grooms family who worked tirelessly to make their home wedding ready.