Yesterday, we applied for passports. Tim already has his, but mine is long-expired and the girls needed theirs. We took, cropped, and printed out our own photos at home. It took a LONG time to get everything exactly right. Afterward, we went downtown to the courthouse where we had to put up our right hands and swear that our application was truthful. While we were there, THREE people asked us if the girls were twins because they had matching outfits on.

Productive 1 Productive 2 Productive 3

By the time we were done, it was 2 o'clock so we devoured cheeseburgers and french fries (with ketchup!) at In N Out. Then, we went to Fry's to buy laundry detergent (we bought the arm + hammer brand this time because it was almost ten dollars cheaper than Tide! Ten dollars!).

Productive 4This morning, we decided to take the "divide and conquer" approach.

Tim took the girls to the park in the morning w/ a cooler of ice and popsicles, while I researched health insurance options (and cried at the Samaritan Ministries video).

When they returned, we ate sandwiches w/ turkey, havarti cheese, spinach, and tomatoes on yummy rolls. Our 1-year-old napped and our 3-year-old watched the Mickey Mouse version of The Three Musketeers.

Then, I took the girls to Tim's Grandpa's house so that Tim could work on the Give Every Day website. When we got there, he insisted that the girls watch a National Geographic DVD (he always does)...and offered them chocolate. Before we left, we went on a walk to his mailbox & back (even though he had already got his mail for the day).

At dinner, we ate deli sandwiches (again) + fresh pineapple in the backyard...with the amazing promise of desert rain filling our noses.

After bathtime, I read a chapter of "Ramona and Her Father" to my pajama'd girls. It was the chapter where Ramona tries to convince her dad to stop smoking because she is afraid for his health.

It's 8:48 and our 1-year-old has been asleep for about 30 minutes. Our 3-year-old is up eating a snack at the kitchen table (she often gets hungry before bedtime). After that, she'll probably ask Tim to read more books to her (and he will).

"It's been a productive weekend," Tim just said satisfactorily. I agree.

But. It wasn't only the "work" part that was productive. It was all of it. Including the books, the swinging, the playing in the sandbox after dinner, the breaking up quarrels, and the hand-holding.

Now that I think of it, perhaps those things were the most productive of all.

Do you have your passport? What brand of laundry detergent do you buy (and why)?

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63 comments on “Productive”

  1. For those of you who that are followers of Supra and their Skytop form, we have a heal for you. Here we characteristic a two of Supra Trinity NS TUF’s, which characteristic a crackled cowhide construction.

  2. So happy that you got your passports! It is a great feeling knowing that IF you want to or need to, you can just GO at a moments notice. All four of us have kiddos already have Canada, and Switzerland on theirs. The European Union doesn't require stamps for every country over there, but if they did, they would also have Germany and Austria in there! I never traveled out of the country until after I was over 23. I was SO happy to get stamps in my passport (silly, I know). I had to get a new one this year. While the new ones are nice, I sure liked having the pages filled up from my travels to Europe, New Zealand, Fiji...

    If you EVER go to Europe, let me know...we have heaps of places you can stay!

  3. We make our own detergent using a recipe from Trent at The Simple Dollar.

    We use Charlie's Soap for cloth diapers, though.

    I love In n Out I wish they would expand over to the east coast!!!

  4. Look at how tall your little lady is in that picture!

    We have only ever used Arm & Hammer detergent because it seems to be gentler on our sesitive skin. Everytime I smell Tide I get a little nauseous at how prefumey it is. That said, I just received a free sample of Norwex laundery detergent. Have you heard of this company? It's very intriguing and I'm excited to see how it works.

  5. I do have a passport. I first got it when I was 17 and have made sure to keep it current. I used to dream of impromtu trips abroad (that only happened once) now it is more a matter of being optimistic that someday we will travel again.

    I use whatever is on sale and/or has coupons. With coupons and sales I am able to get it cheaply enough to donate a good bit to our local food pantry too.

  6. We all have passports except the new baby... My husband has had one since he was 6 months old and pretty much so has our oldest! I've had one since I was 18.

    I use Planet detergent for my cloth diapers and Tide for everything else. I made my own detergent for awhile, but left it in powdered form and my husband swore that it didn't work. I'm tempted to do a blind test and see if he can tell the difference because I think he's being biased! ;)
    But I never use the full recommended amount although I do think you need some soap depending on what you're washing! For the same reason that greases don't come off when you wash your hands unless you use soap!

  7. When I was in grade school, people asked if my sister and I (4.5 yrs apart) were twins, because we were wearing the same SHOES! Yikes.
    I have had a passport for the past 15 years (not the same one of course!)
    I have several kinds of detergent - the arm & hammer, some "green" stuff, and rockin' green for my cloth diapers. :) Lots of choices in the laundry room! :)

  8. I have an expired passport from when I went to Japan over 15 years ago. No one else in my family has one and we haven't needed one - no money to travel outside the US. As for laundry detergent I make my own - much much much cheaper than buying it and it works great!

  9. Your weekend sounds wonderful! I love the weekends when no one huge thing happened, but all the little things add up to something wonderful. Also, the pictures of your girls melt my heart. Although I wonder what people are thinking if they think they're twins?? Oh well. Thanks for the tip on Mickey Mouse's The Three Musketeers. Our son isn't into tv or movies yet (he's only 21 months old) but he does love Mickey.

    Chris & I have passports (we got them before the prices went up) but our son does not. It's on our list of things to do, especially since we love traveling.

    Our son has sensitive skin, and I hate wasting money, so all of our clothes get washed in detergent that's free of dyes and perfumes. I usually buy whatever's on sale. I miss the scent of fresh laundry, but our skin looks good!

    Have you heard of the Duggars (the people with 19 kids and counting?) They make their own detergent, both powdered and liquid. Here's their website:

  10. I do not have my passport, I keep saying I'm going to get it and it gets put to the wayside.

    We pretty much use whatever detergent is on sale/have a coupon for, except Tide. All 3 of my girls and myself are allergic to Tide. And I keep a bottle of Purex for the cloth diapers.

  11. I love productive weekends like this -- it's all those little moments that add up to something rather wonderful, isn't it?

    My husband & I still have valid passports, but we don't have one for my son.

    I was buying whatever laundry detergent was on sale, but just made homemade laundry powder for the first time a few weeks ago, and that's it. I'm never buying laundry detergent again! It was surprisingly easy to do, smells so fresh & clean, and is saving us a fortune.

      1. It's so easy -- washing soda, borax, baking soda, and grated castile soap. I found instructions here:

        The hardest part was grating the soap. I did it while watching TV one night, and thought my hand would fall off before I finished. Next time I might just chop it into chunks and throw it in the food processor.

        I have an HE front loader, so I use about 1 1/2 tbsp, which is a bit less than she recommended for a top loader. There's a ton of tips and suggestions if you scroll down through the comments, as well.

        I'm thinking that next time I make it, I'm going to figure out exactly how much it costs to make a batch, and then how many loads of laundry it'll wash, so I have a better idea of what we're saving.

  12. I got girls passports one month after they were born. Masha, who is three, has been on 4 international trips by now. And we have always had passports :)

  13. We use Tide and liquid Downy, because my husband is very particular about the way his clothes smell and that combination is apparently the best! And we do have passports - I always keep them up to date because we travel to Canada every now and then to visit family. We applied for our son's when he was two months old! Best of luck with your exciting adventure...seems like you're getting a lot done :)

  14. my husband and i have expired passports... our boys don't have them. haven't gone on any vacations where we have all needed them. maybe someday : )
    as for laundry detergent... we use the arm & hammer that is unscented and free of dyes.

  15. Yes we have our passports. We make our own laundry soap, for people with soft water is doesnt do so well, but for us it works wonders and is about $5 for 3 month!

  16. I make our own laundry detergent. Costs about $3 for 8 gallons. As for the passport, I am the only one in our family who has one. But my kiddos made their own with a picture and signature. So cute!!

      1. Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine:

        4 Cups - hot tap water
        1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
        1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
        ½ Cup Borax

        - Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

        -Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

        -Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

        -Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

        -Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

        -Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

        -Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

        *Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online. Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

        I can buy all the items at Food City and my cousin said she found all items at a Fry's in town.
        My hubby is the hardest critic, I made the switch and he never knew until I told him. He was so impressed, that he has me send samples of it to his work for others to try.

  17. No, I don't have a passport. I am very curious about your health insurance research. Maybe you could share with me someday.

  18. Passports? Yes. Zac hasn't used his yet, but now that they are needed for Mexico, it probably won't be long.
    Laundry? Kirkland from Costco. Cheap and that big tub lasts forever!
    Sounds like a very fun and productive day!

  19. cute passport pictures. :)

    All of us have a passport except Ivy. We need to get hers though soon. I actually think Jade's might be about to expire. We took her to germany several years ago and she's anxious to go again and take Ivy.

    We buy whatever detergent is at costco with a coupon. I used to always buy Wisk but our washer doesn't like it and it stalls out and peeps. It took us a while to figure out that the detergent was the issue.

    btw- the last pictures on my blog were taken up by Sundance. It is up Provo Canyon (between Provo - where BYU is, and Park City- where the Olympics were). If you come through Utah on your journeys we'd love to take you on the hike :)

  20. YES! now its got all sorts of fun stamps after our travels...but i have to get a new one with my new last name. :( i hate clean passports! :)

    i use whatever is on sale. I read an article that you don't even need soap to do's the agitation that cleans it...the soap really just adds smell. I don't know if it's true or not, but now i just use half the amount of soap i used to.

    1. Interesting! If that is really true, then we're all being majorly scammed! ;)

      I think I may try using 1/2 the soap next time...

  21. No passport, though I should get one. We keep putting off any trips that we start planning, though bcause we keep having babies! I love that I'm not the only one who dresses my kids alike. I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old and people always think they're twins because of their clothes! I'm with you on the detergent too. I started using it about 6 months ago when I realized the difference in price.

  22. No passport here. But I should probably get one soon so that when I do actually need one I won't be rushing around trying to get one. I use Charlie's Soap and I love it! Works great on my cloth diapers and the rest of the laundry. I was washing my daughter's clothes seperatley in Dreft and our clothes in Tide but doing separate laundry like that was making me crazy! So now our clothes go in all together and laundry day is much better. Makes for a happier momma :-)

  23. We do have our passports although our new baby boy does not have his (yet.) My husband has traveled through parts of Europe while in high school and we've traveled to Mexico a couple times since being married. As a military family, I'm hoping for some overseas orders so we get a chance to use them again soon.

    We use All Free Clear. No perfumes. No dyes. No worries about 1 month old sensitive skin. Even the small container lasts us a long time mostly because I use about half the suggested amount. I can't tell a difference - the clothes still get clean.

  24. Hmmm...I think my passport is around somewhere, but it has my maiden name on it which probably makes it invalid. I haven't used it in awhile.

    I love productive days...the ones where there is fun and love involved amidst all the doing.

  25. Really? How did they think they were twins? I mean, they have similar features for sure, but you'd think the two-year difference might be kind of obvious. People are silly. Anyway, glad you had a good and productive weekend! Chris and I have passports, but the girls don't. I don't want to pay for it until we're definitely taking them out of the country; it's too expensive for a maybe! As for laundry detergent, I honestly buy whatever is on sale but still smells decent. We switch often, depending on what Fry's has cheap!

  26. ALWAYS keep my passport up-to-date -- I am sort of obsessive about it and I carry it my purse "just in case"! HA! BUT we let my husband's expire, accidentally of course! He is South African & I am American and we are currently living in South Africa so there are quite a few documents (both US driver's licenses, both intn'l licenses, his SA driver's license, his green card, my SA visa, my US passport, his SA passport) whose expiration dates we have to keep track of. Bad thing was that we didn't see it until we tried to leave SA for Christmas. He had to wait a day and get a temporary one!! NOT FUN!!

    P.S. Absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the decision that you guys have made as a family. I am so curious about how it will unfold, how you will support yourself financially, and what insurance you find (we are looking for better coverage with our travels, too) Thanks so much for sharing this journey with "us"!

    1. Hi Lindsey! Thanks so much for commenting and introducing yourself. :)

      Have you looked into Samaritan Ministries? It's an alternative to health insurance and we're pretty sure that we are going to apply. It is also open to international missionaries. Here's the link:

  27. My passport is long-expired as well, the last place I went was Wales :)
    I've just recently started making my own laundry detergent. I was using TJ's brand but am trying my own (I'll let you know when I get it just right):)

    1. How many times have you been to Wales? I'd like to hear more about your experience sometime.

      Also - did you like the TJ's brand of detergent?

  28. Ever since I learned that petroleum based laundry detergents (which is weird in and of itself) also have formaldehyde in them, I since switched to an eco-family-friendly kind. I think right now I am using Ecos. I miss the scents, because that "summer breeze," or whatever they are, smells OH SO GOOD.
    And my husband and I have our passports, but not the kiddos yet. Ours have numerous stamps in them from Mexico and SE Asia. And my husband's has a few more... he studied for a semester in China while in college and traveled a bit.
    Where are you wanting to go? Or is it a "just in case" sort of thing?

    1. Where do you buy Ecos and does it work well?

      We decided to get our passports in case we decide to venture into Canada or Mexico (which is somewhat likely). Also - who knows where our lives will take us beyond this year...? :)

  29. I do have a passport, and would LOVE an excuse to use it soon, although I don't see that happening.

    Laundry? I typically but what is on sale, coupled with a coupon. I do love tide!

  30. I do have a passport and many stamps in it! That's the life of a missionary! You know, you can put that RV on a boat and bring it to Europe for a year! :) I've seen them on the road in Ukraine, such a weird and new sight to see!
    I just started using Amway laundry soap because it is environmentally friendly. You might be interested in it, because its very concentrated and the box is small and lasts for months! Good thing for those RV's with so little space! :) And, Amway does a lot of charitable work.

    1. It's good to know about the Amway soap. Thank you for the recommendation. Do you buy it online or locally in the Ukraine?

  31. I've been meaning to get my passport for oh, my whole life now. :) My husband has his, and has gone all over with it (he used to do a lot of missions work with the church we grew up in.) I'm quite jealous of his travels!

    Thank you for the reminder about what being productive means. I teach history at ASU, so school just started and I've spent the whole week feeling like I'm not getting enough done every day. Time to reprioritize (is that a word?) though, and remember that if I've taken care of my girls well each day, the important work was done.

    1. How do you like being a professor? I'd love to go back to school to get my PhD, but am not willing to spend long hours away from my girls on-campus. If you get a chance, please tell the department heads and university admin at ASU that they should start PhD programs that are research-heavy...and either fully or primarily online. :)

      1. I love being a professor! I'm really lucky to work under the department chair that I do (I teach on the Polytechnic campus) because he's wonderfully understanding and flexible with my schedule. This semester I am only on campus teaching one day a week, which is wonderful with a 3 year old and 4 month old at home!

        I did my doctorate coursework before we had kids, but with the scholarship I had I still taught 2-3 classes each semester while writing my dissertation. I had our 1st daughter the first year of teaching, and went to more online/hybrid classes after that so I could be home more. I took an extra year than I was supposed to in finishing my dissertation (but so did most of my classmates, and I was the only one with children, so I didn't feel too bad.) I graduated in 2009, and was 8 months pregnant with our second daughter when I defended my dissertation (unfortunately, I had the placental abruption two weeks later where we lost our precious baby, so it didn't end up being the celebratory ending I'd imagined.)

        You may get your wish sooner rather than later for the online Ph.D. programs- a lot of the meetings I've attended lately have discussed the possibility. Since I'm one of the profs with a lot of online experience, its likely that I'd be one of the instructors in such programs- what degree are you looking at? I can try to make friends in the appropriate departments for you and nudge them in the right direction . . . :)

        1. I'm still somewhat undecided, but I am leaning towards Family Studies or Communications. How did you select History as your program of choice...and what was your dissertation topic? I'd be interested to hear more about that process.

          1. Hmm, I actually CAN help you if you go the Communications route! On the Poly campus the Communications profs are in my department, and we're discussing options for developing masters and doctoral programs and how much of them should be online.

            I chose history because I'm a huge nerd and have loved history since I was little. I begged my parents to take me and my sisters to the East Coast when I was in middle school because I'd read "The Killer Angels" and wanted to see Gettysburg. That same summer I spent a week with my grandmother and she told me I could make a career out of history. I, somewhat foolishly, believed her and now here I am!

            My dissertation is called "Coming to Grips with America: The Japanese American Experience in the Southwest," and studied the history of Japanese Americans in AZ & NM from 1901 to 1952. My husband's grandfather is Japanese, so its part family history and part historical study. I like to tell myself that that makes it more interesting to people outside of huge history nerds, but I'm guessing it only means my husband's family will also read it!

            1. This is exciting news!

              My ideal program would be one that included an initial on-campus component (perhaps a 1-day or even 1-week "academy") to meet professors, get acquainted with the university, etc. From that point on, it would be highly research-intensive and entirely completed online. Technology has made it quite easy for students and professors to communicate anywhere and anytime, in various formats. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that more reputable universities haven't stepped up to offer a larger number of graduate programs online, aren't you?

              Also - "Online" does not have to be synonymous with "less intellectual" or "less work." On the contrary, the students and professors of any given program define the rigor, regardless of whether the learning occurs in brick-and-mortar classrooms or not.

              As far as a topic, I'm interested in "Communication Traits of Successful Leaders: Past and Present" and/or "Communication Traits of Social Media Influencers."

              I'm curious: Did you decide on your topic before or after you began your PhD work? What led you to that specific topic?

            2. One other thought/question: I noticed on ASU's website that the GRE is still an entrance requirement for graduate admission. I'm curious what you think about that.

              While I am not adverse to taking the exam (I have a knack for rote memorization), I don't think that it provides a realistic vantage point from which to judge a person's readiness or competency level.

              For example, I completed my Bachelors degree in two years, taking 20-25 credit hours each semester...and graduated summa cum laude. I then completed my Masters degree in two years with a 4.0. It's been nearly 7 years since my last degree. Though certainly doable, it seems silly for me to buy GRE books to "study to an exam" that has absolutely nothing to do with the degree I will be pursuing.

              Must I really memorize algebra equations and complete analogies to demonstrate my aptitude for higher thinking?

              I am aware that you are not the one deciding these university-wide requirements, but I'd be very interested to hear your perspective since you are in the middle of academia. ;)

  32. oh how I love the phrase you used "amazing promise of desert rain filling our noses":) i miss Arizona...everything about it! well maybe not the scorpions and rattlesnakes...but definitely everything else:)

    i have been a devoted tide user for over 30 years! however since moving to Hawaii, with prices out the roof...i have strayed to a less expensive, but equally as good (in my opinion) brand...the Walmart great value HE formula. i do still use liquid the fragrance and softness:)

    we don't have passports yet, but they are on our to do list...we are longing to do a mission trip soon.

    1. You forgot to include "the unbearably hot summers" on your list! Those are not particularly miss-worthy either. Today, it was 104!

      How's the weather in Hawaii? Do I even want to know? ;)

  33. We all have passports and have used them! :) The newest addition will have to get hers soon too if she wants to come with to visit grandparents next summer. Hopefully they will get a good chance to fill them up!

    We had a pretty productive weekend too. Good food, lots of outdoor fun, and a cupcake!! I work Sunday so my weekend is over.

    We use tide because some of the scents from the other brands make me nauseous. Never tried arm & hammer though. Wisk I cannot handle the scent.

  34. I was just telling my husband today that we need to get passports for everyone in our fam. We have some pretty big goals this year also and I had a feeling that taking that step with the passports will bring us that much closer to our goal. It's like telling our deity and the universe that we are ready to travel. Thanks for your inspiration always.

  35. Lol, i am so glad i am not up to this stage yet :D I don't have to worry about being productive. :) Except in school... (I think :S)

  36. I almost always buy the Arm & Hammer because it's so much cheaper! :) And I like its nonscentedness.

    Also--how did people think they were twins?? I swear people are so blind sometimes.

    1. Crazy, huh? It reminded me of when my babies were little, dressed in pink from head-to-toe, and someone would inevitably ask, "How old is HE?" People can be so non-observant.

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