February 2012

A family’s journey to Belize

Patsy O'Toole; Ty-Ty; Chirl; Theresa, Mary & Danny O'Toole

Yoga Student Theresa O’Toole, her 4 siblings, and some cousins are in Belize this month building a home for a family who needs one.

As part of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the O’Toole family has been planning this trip for over a year.

In preparation, they held fund-raisers and even contributed their own money to the mission of this trip.

The idea was born after Theresa’s mother, Francis O’Toole, died a little over a year ago.  Francis’s children were dealing with their grief, and wanted to do something positive in honor of their mother and their late father.

Francis O’Toole had supported the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth for many years.  The Catholic charity has made it their mission to work for justice in solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially the economically poor and women, and to care for the earth.

During this trip, Theresa and her family are building a home for Chirl and her son Ty-Ty (in the picture).  They have traveled at their own expense, have put up money for building supplies, and are doing much of the work on the house themselves.

I promised Theresa I would wear this Journey bracelet while she and her family are in Belize.  I hope you will join me in celebrating the spirit of the O’Toole family as they give back to the world.  What a fitting honor for their two loving parents!


Living in the 1890′s: My Laundry

aaahhhh...fresh towels!

This week I made my own laundry soup.  Inspired by the high cost of laundry products and my passion for trying new recipes, I cooked up a batch of detergent to rival any storebought version.

I was less motivated by the enviro benefits, and more excited about saving money.  But, it turns out, it’s green!

Actually, it turned out to be a pale yellow color.  But washing dirty clothes with it is better for the environment, less toxic for the humans who wear the clothes, and a HUGE savings from store-bought detergent.

On Wednesday, I went to Target to purchase laundry detergent and was blown away by the high price of the detergents.  Plus, the detergent-y smell on the aisle made me a little headache-y and slightly nauseous.

So I came home and googled recipes, and made my own.

I chose dirty towels for my first load with the new soap – complete with sour washcloth.  I am happy to report that all linens are now clean, folded and good-smelling.

And, with this recipe, each load costs about 1-cent worth of soap.  That’s right…one penny.

All ingredients were available at Stewart Brothers Hardware on Madison. They’re a local company, with super helpful employees.  I even got the washing soda for 1/2-price because the box had gotten damp.

All items available at Stewart Brothers Hardware

Here’s the recipe I chose:

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

~You will also need a bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.

Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.

Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  Use ½ cup per load.

I had some lavender essential oil on-hand, and used about 1/4-ounce for the whole batch.

(recipe from www.thefamilyhomestead.com)

Confession: I did use the dryer. I’m just not motivated to hang towels on the line because they turn out scratchy on my delicate skin. And sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be too green.

You know, a little MUCH?

While I’m into cooking up some mean recipes on the stovetop, I’m not yet ready to trade in my car for a horse and buggy.