Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gearing Up For The Sunny Days Ahead!

I am sooo ready for Spring and Summer! I check on my tulips and irises every day because it's so exciting to see how much they are growing. I'm about ready to get out there and get my hands in the dirt, though. We went to Menard's the other night and bought a bunch of stuff so we can start playing in the dirt. We bought some fencing so we can fence off the part of the yard behind the garage that is dedicated to our garden. MW started setting posts last night after work. This will definitely help with the dog! For one, we won't have to be concerned with finding a way to keep her off of our baby vegetables. And that's one less dirt pile for her to get in and drag mud in the house when it rains. Yay!

We bought a couple of apple trees for the front yard. That's one thing I have missed about Florida. We had planted citrus trees there. I LOOOOVED being able to walk out into my own yard and pick fresh Meyer Lemons for cooking or making homemade lemonade. Thank you, Paula Deen, for the awesome recipe! And, oh, the ruby red grapefruit! I'm drooling just thinking about it. I would fill the sink and counter top with them and juice to my little heart's content. I don't even bother buying it in the store any more. The fresh juice ruined me. Although, I can't grow citrus anymore, I will be having me some Granny Smith and Jonathan apples one day! My dream is to have every kind of fruit tree that I would care to eat (and that will grow here) in my yard. We're baby steppin'. I'd probably need a bigger yard, too, though!

So, we bought the fencing for the garden, trees for front, and...seeds. Garden seeds. Flower seeds. Sunflower seeds. OK, I know that Sunflowers fall into the flower category, but indulge me just a little, will ya? I love them. I didn't realize just how much I loved them, though, until last summer. Little Britches got a free pack of Sunflower seeds last year from the local grocery store's kid's club. Those things grew like crazy! They are such a happy flower. I even had several neighbors comment on how much they were enjoying our Sunflowers. They watched them every day like I'm watching my tulips and irises right now. Did I mention that I think they are a really happy flower? This year I bought three different kinds because I love them so much.

I bought the mammoth kind like these. They were like 12-14 feet tall. They were even too big to use as a cut flower. So, I also bought some that will be 5-6 feet tall. They're supposed to be perfect for cutting. And then...I saw them. Garnet colored Sunflowers that will be 4-5 feet tall. Yay! They will match the garnet colored scheme in my house that you couldn't see in my toile post that you'll just have to trust me on! How divine will they be? And they are such a happy flower!

So, we're gearing up for the endless days of sunshine around here. We have lots of projects planned and plenty to keep us busy. But, tomorrow, we play. MW is taking the day off of work and we are going to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. That place is amazing. But, that will be for a post next week. Then on Saturday I get to play some more. I'm having a shopping day with a girlfriend while MW plants apple trees and works on that fence. More yay!

Little Britches will be having a sleepover with Mamaw Friday night. So, Mom and Dad will have a night alone. Did I hear someone say yay? Wait, that was me! Isn't he a handsome fellow?

Well, I will be signing off now. I hope you enjoyed pictures of my Sunflowers from last summer. And I hope you have a happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Simple Sewing Solutions

Yesterday I mentioned that I have recently started taking sewing lessons. I have many a project planned for this new found skill. I just need to take some more lessons and find the time to actually DO these projects. I thought I'd share some things that I've found to be really handy during my new learning experience.

Of course, I had a few basic sewing supplies already on hand that I kept stashed in a little box. But, as my notions collection grew - so did the need for a place to put them. Hence, began the search for a proper sewing box. I looked at many places, including JoAnn Fabrics, and found some beautiful sewing containers. What lovely padded and trimmed boxes I saw...They even had toile! Be still my beating heart! And then I opened them. The problem I kept running in to was that although they were beautiful to look at - they had one little tray on top and a big open area in the bottom that somehow screamed out to me, "Big, unorganized, have a hard time finding what you're looking for, mess ahead if you buy me!" This is one of those times where form needed to follow function. I needed to go to Plan B.

Do you remember Caboodles? Did you have one? The huge, multi-compartmented make-up storage containers with a travel handle and all? Geesh, am I really dating myself here, or what? I loooved my Caboodle! But, really, how much make-up can you actually wear?! I had that thing forEVUH and thought it would make a fabulous box for my sewing notions. Except, I finally got rid of it a few years back. You know when you hold on to something for way over a decade because you may find a need for it someday - and when someday never comes you break ties with the pack-rat inside of you and let it go and then one day in the not too far off future you find a need for it but have kissed it good bye and now are up a creek without a paddle, so to speak? Man, can I write a run-on sentence, or what? Well, that's what happened with me and my Caboodle. So, I thought, "No biggie. I'll just go buy a new Caboodle." Except, since I got that thing forty-hundred years ago - they don't seem to make them anymore.

Since, MW is such a brilliant man, (After all he HAS been to college. TWICE!) he recommended that I check out the tackle boxes. I wasn't really wanting something...can I say UGLY? Well, I wasn't wanting something ugly, but was beginning to exhaust my options. So we headed on over to KMart and to my delighted surprise - I found this:

Who knew that they make tackle boxes in girly colors now? Yay!

AND it has lots of compartments for all of my little, bitty sewing notions. It's like a Caboodle with a new name! I think my old Caboodle was actually pink and grey. My reformed tackle box is pink and purple. Even better. (BTW - the table runner under my sewing box used to be a shower curtain. It's one of my completed projects.)

These are a couple more things I really like using. The round, yellow circle in the clear container is beeswax. It's great if you have some hand stitching to do. You just run your thread through it and it gives the thread a little bit more strength and helps to keep it from getting tangled up. The beaded do-hickey with the thread snips on the end is my very most favorite thing. I saw my sewing instructor had something like this and so I set out and made myself one. I just wear it around my neck when I'm working on something and it solves the problem of trying to find where I laid my little snips down. Simple idea. HUGE pay-off. One more thing that I personally found to be brilliant (although I didn't come up with the idea myself) was found in the form of a simple brown paper lunch sack. I tape one to the edge of the table when I'm sewing and throw scraps of thread and fabric right into it. It saves me from finding stray threads all over the house. The bags are cheap and make clean-up a breeze. Ok. I lied. I have one more, one more thing for you. If you look at the picture of my opened up tackle/sewing box, you'll notice a stick of plain old Elmer's glue. This stuff is awesome if you have some trim that you want to sew down. When I made the Roman shades for my kitchen I knew the trim needed to be sewn on because it would hang over the sink and possibly could get wet. I didn't want to risk it coming off, so I sewed it down. But since it had delicate bead work I couldn't really get a pin in there to secure it without risking the beads getting broken. The glue stick was the perfect answer. It held the trim in place while I sewed it on without breaking the bead work. I could probably think of a bazillion other uses for it in sewing, but you're creative, so I'll leave that part up to you.

That's all I've got. I'm clean out of ideas for the day. So, I hope you found something useful that will maybe make your life a little easier in the sewing arena.

Have a great Wednesday! Pam
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Toile Party

I have this thing for toile. I think it's timeless, romantic, flexable and it makes me feel oh, so good every time I look at it! Evidently, I'm not the only toile freak out there 'cuz there's a whole toile party goin' on over at Pretty Organized Palace. If you're so inclined, head on over there and check it out. Moving on...

When we bought this house a year ago I decided that I would start taking sewing lessons and make all the window treatments, pillows, yada, yada, yada. I settled on black and white toile fabric for the living room and kitchen since I love it so much. I also figured that years down the road if I get tired of the color scheme I've got going on I can paint the walls, change the pillows and accents I have and the curtains are still gonna match. And I'll still be in love with toile, so why change a good thing. (Iknow it doesn't actually look like I have a color scheme going on but you would see that there is garnet everywhere if you could see the whole space together. Which you can't, so you'll just have to trust me on this!)

These living room curtains are my first sewing attempt. Not bad for a novice. I love them.

Next, I moved on to my kitchen with Roman Shades. A bit more challenging than the panels in the living room. Not perfect. I don't care. I love them, too.

I have fabric left over that will be throw pillows for the sofa as soon as I get the courage to try messing with the gorgeous piping that is just waiting to finish off my loverly pillows. I also have plans to make a toile shower curtain and another shade of some sort to finish off the bathroom.

So, as you can see - I like toile. A lot. I wish I had more of my projects done to show you just how much. But if you like toile or are a closet toile-a-holic, take a peek at the party going on over at Pretty Organized Palace. I won't tell. I promise. You may just get some fabulous toile ideas. I think I'm gonna have to make myself one (or fifty) of the toile eggs that Nester showcased. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have a party to attend.

Happy Tuesday! Pam
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Laundry Room Progress

We made great strides in the laundry room this past week. We finally got it painted. I didn't have a complete before picture - but I did get a corner of the room when we were removing the old wall paper border. The walls were filthy and had huge gouges in them.

After painting the entire room white - I brought the wall color from the guest room at the top of the stairs down to two of the walls by painting 9" stripes. See my dryer under the stairs?

It would have been too hard to stripe the walls where the washing machine and furnace were so I added a phrase that has a play on words with our last name above the laundry shelf.

I had mentioned that "room" was a word I used extremely loosely in this area of the house. You can kind of get a sense of what I mean in the picture with the washer. Remember, my dryer is across from the washing machine, under the stairs.

We still need to paint out all of the wood trim white. We are going to do that through out the entire house, so we'll just tackle it all at the same time. And I also am going to get rid of the lace curtains and make a simple Roman shade for the window. I also want to make a skirt to on the bottom of the shelf to hide some of the uglies. The last thing I'm going to do is hang some pictures on the wall going up the stairs. The verdict is still out on the color of the frames, though.

When I went to JoAnn Fabric this weekend I found the most absolutely perfect fabric to use for my curtains, shelf skirt and cubby panels in this room and the guest room. It is the exact same color of the darker paint stripes and I got it on sale for $1.20 a yard. I was really excited about that deal. Anyway, as you can see we are making progress and the room now feels so much fresher and cleaner than it did a few days ago.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Joseph Update

My little friend, Joseph, had his major surgery yesterday. It took about 7 hours. In the past when he has any kind of surgery he has a lot of problems breathing on his own afterwards. It's not uncommon for him to spend a week in ICU post surgery.

Well...I just heard from his dad. His is sitting up, eating and talking this morning and they are moving him out of ICU and into a regular room! Less than a day after surgery! Praise God! He is going home on Monday!

Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for Joseph! God is a good God.

XO, Pam

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prayer Request

This is Joseph. He is 9 years old. He also has Spina Bifida. He was in my son's pre-school and kindergarten classes when we lived in Florida. He is one of the sweetest boys you would ever want to meet. No matter what he is going through he always manages to keep a positive attitude. It is truly inspiring.

We had the privilege of seeing Joseph and his family back in February. He was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and chose to come to Indiana and meet with Coach Tony Dungy. It was the trip of a lifetime for their family.

I would like to ask you to pray for Joseph and his family. They are going through a really difficult time right now. He is having a major, major surgery tomorrow morning that they are flying a surgeon in from China to perform it because he is the man who invented the procedure being done. God is on the throne and in control. But I'm sure the family would appreciate a little extra agreement for their needs to be met right now.

I'm encouraged when travel through Bloggy Land by how many sisters in the faith I find. So, I thank you for your love and prayers for my friends, Joseph, and his family.

XO, Pam
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Guest Room Details

Yesterday I shared with you some pictures of the guest room that I'm working on. Almost everything in the room has been free except for the paint I used and a few do-dads to set out.

This lampshade wasn't free - but the lamp it's sitting on was. I bought the pre-glued shade with a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby. That place is one of my most favorite stores, evuh! I bought the fabric there at 30% off also. Next, I jogged on down (Not really, 'cause I don't run unless it's life threatening!) to JoAnn Fabric and bought the trim with my 40% off coupons. The total cost of all my supplies for this shade, including tax, was less than $15.50. I'm pretty happy with that after pricing lampshades at several stores.

These are my T.J. Maxx plates. The two blue ones were $.70 a piece. I wish that they had one more. But since they didn't I had found this white one that I thought was really cute for $3.00. I wasn't sure where I was going to put it at first. I settled on using it on the wall with my two blue ones. I don't know yet if I'm completely sold on it, though. I'm playing around with the idea of putting a monogram in blue on the center of the white plate. I'll have to see how that looks.

This is the table that MW pull out of a dumpster for me. Ahh, I love that man! He said, "I saw this and thought it looked like something you'd love." At first I thought I might refinish it. I'm sorta diggin' the knargly, dinged up character of the piece right now, though. I think it shows that it has a history. I'm not sure. All things are subject to change. Any thoughts on this matter?

I picked up the books that are scattered around the room at our library. Every so often they have a sale. You load up as many books as you like and then just give them a donation. Very inexpesive.

Well, I need to scoot for now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Guest Room Preview

OK. Here they are; the pictures I promised from my guest room project. First, I must say - it's not done, yet. Secondly, I am not a designer and no where near the skill level that I've seen some of you lovely ladies in Bloggy Land possess. Lastly, almost everything in the entire guest room has been FREE. Considering all the above statements - I'm very pleased with how this is turning out.

This is the sitting/reading nook that we use during homeschool for reading time. Both chairs were FREE. So was the end table. I'm not sold on leaving it this color, though - or if this is where it's going to stay. All things are subject to change. This lamp and the one on the end table by the bed (you haven't seen it, yet) were both GIVEN to my by the guy at the Thrift Store. Yay! I made the lampshade that's on it with one of those pre-glued deals you buy at Jo-Ann Fabric. The plates on the wall are from my T.J.Maxx deals I posted about earlier. That cord won't be running down the wall after Thursday, either. Argh! The cubby behind the chairs and the one by the bed (you still haven't seen it) will have fabric panels hiding the stuff inside. I just haven't found the right fabric, yet. OK - moving on...

The bed area you're looking at is to the right of the sitting/reading area you just saw. The bed and dresser (be patient!) were both FREE as well as the mattress and box springs. My mom recently re-vamped her bedroom and gave me her old bedding. I was pleased that it went with the carpet that was already there. Yay! I just love it when things work out! And there is my other FREE lamp. That table was pulled out the trash by my dear husband. You go, MW! The window frame and that bit of door off to the right are going to be painted the same color as the walls. The window is also going to have a treatment made out of the same fabric I find to use on the cubbies. And, moving on again...

This cubby area holds the FREE dresser that matches the headboard. I've yet to figure out what I'm going to do with the top of it. Like I said, it's a work in progress. I'll post more pictures of the finished room whenever that day arrives.

I'll show better close ups of some of the things in the room tomorrow. Well, I'm off to make supper. Have a wonderful evening.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Updates

I have Spring Fever! The temperatures were mild this weekend and only required a light jacket. We were able to take a walk to the park and drive with the windows down. Yay! I am sooo ready for Spring. Did I mention I have Spring Fever already?

Back in the Fall we planted 180 tulip bulbs and 25 iris bulbs in the front yard. They have started peeking their noses out of the ground. I absolutely love flowers. I can't wait until my front yard is awash with color and I can clip them for indoor arrangements, too! This photo is of one of my tulip bouquets from last spring. There were already of few tulips that came with the house.

I mentioned that we got the Wii Fit recently. I am sooo lovin' it! It's actually fun. It makes being faithful to exercise quite doable for this ol' girl. I have noticed a huge improvement in my balance and posture since I have been using it almost regularly. I didn't use it a whole lot at the beginning of last week due to a sinus infection that had me feeling pretty poopy. Even still, the weight is slowly creeping down. Works for me!

Have you used the new Crest Spinbrush Pro Whitening toothbrush, yet? I highly recommend it. When I went to the doctor last week she said that we needed to change out our toothbrushes this weekend because both MW and myself had been sick. So, instead of buying the old fashioned "regular" toothbrushes that I normally buy - MW wanted to try the new Crest Spinbrush Pro Whitening toothbrush. Everyone in the house got a new one. Let me just say, I am SUPER impressed. Even the places in my mouth that I normally feel don't get as clean as I would like them to are spotless. Would it be weird to say that this new toothbrush actually makes brushing your teeth fun? Well, I just did anyway! If you're interested in trying it out you can click on this link for a $2 coupon you can print out. Did I mention that it's totally awesome?

Happy Monday!
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Friday, March 6, 2009

What A Year THAT Was!

Have you ever just had one of those years you'll never forget? Mine happened when I was 12.

It all started right about Halloween. Our church had rented the skating rink for a Halloween Costume Skate Night. That's when they still had 4 wheels! You remember back in the day, don't you? Every weekend was spent at the roller rink. Jordache Jeans with big cuffs at the bottom, comb in the back pocket...We were cool! Ugh. I'm getting old ain't I?

Ah, I remember that night so well. I was a dressed like a clown. Papaw's big, polyester checked pants pulled up high on the waist and secured with a rope. Rainbow fro. White painted face with big, red lips turned up into a happy smile - and the eyes and cheeks were done as well. Oh, and of course the squishy red nose. What clown doesn't have a squishy red nose? Well, someone there thought that they would be really awesome and dress up like Santa Clause...AND pass out candy. Do you remember Nerds? Not the people - the candy (I'm dating myself again.). Those hard little balls of sugary, flavored goodness that always seemed to escape the box and get everywhere. That's what "Santa" was passing out that night - AT A SKATING RINK! Of course, not everyone was going to follow the rules of no eating on the skate floor. That someone happened to be my cousin, who not only took them out on the floor, but spilled them out on the floor. And failed to tell anyone so they could be cleaned up from off of the floor. (You think you know what's coming, don't you? Well, you probably do if you know me!) It was time for the races of the night. I loved the races. I was fast. The whistle blew signaling "Go!" and off I went. I was smokin'! I was right up there in the lead. But as I rounded the first curve I ran over something like little, tiny marbles from Hell. NERDS! I lost all control and hit the floor.

Skipping ahead just slightly...we got to the Emergency Room and I looked like a real piece of work. All of my clown make-up had run into a big mess that looked like a rainbow had spewed all over my face. That was the night I broke my arm. Thanks, Jamie!

I used to like to play touch football at recess. I was usually the only girl that would play. No biggie. I was somewhat of a tom boy back then. I even played football with my arm in a cast! Well, the day finally arrived when my cast came off and I couldn't have been happier. All the itching! My dad had straightened out a coat hanger for me and wrapped the end in cotton balls that had been taped on so I could scratch my arm inside of the cast. He was always really clever that way. By the time I got that thing off my arm it was skanky and I was glad to be free!

One day just a couple of weeks after I had gotten my cast off I was out there playing touch football with the guys. It was so cold! We had gotten a really good snow and it made running a little tougher than usual. I had caught the ball and was running for a touchdown! Yay, me! One of the boys on the opposing team forgot that we were playing "touch" football I guess 'cause when he hit me I went down. The only problem was that because of the boots I was wearing and all of the snow - my leg wanted to stay up. I knew it was broken when I heard the pop. I yelled for someone to get a teacher. While I was waiting on the ambulance to arrive and take me to the ER again, the teachers covered me up with blankets. I never did understand the reasoning behind that. I WAS LAYING IN THE SNOW! Once again...peeing in a fan? That was the day I broke my leg. Thanks, boy from my 6th grade class who didn't understand the concept of "touch" football!

The day I got my leg cast off there was something going on that involved physical activity that I wanted to take part in, though I can't remember what it was now. I just remember that when my mom asked the doctor if it would be OK if I went he thought for a moment and said, "Sure. I need the money!" So, I didn't go and that was the last of my broken bones.

That wasn't the end of my excitement for the year, though.

I used to babysit. Now that I'm a mom, myself, I can't figure out what the heck people would leave their kids for hours upon end in the sole care of 12 year old for! But, that's just how it was back then. My last and greatest adventure happened during one of these babysitting stints. It's still all so vivid in this steel trap I call my mind.

Mom dropped me off at Donna's apartment. She had 5 kids all under the age of 8 years old. Remember, I was 12? What was the matter with people? The kids were all excited to see me and crawling all up my legs and stuff 'cause I'm so cool, you know. As the 5 kiddies were screaming, "Pam, look at this!" "Pam, come see my room!" "Pam, .....", Donna was giving me instructions. "I didn't get to feed the kids dinner, yet. But, I have hot dogs boiling and french fries going on the stove top." Then she left. First of all, it was hard to process the information due to the screaming of all the little monkeys in the home that seemed more like a zoo at the time. Second and most importantly, I wasn't allowed to cook in grease. I was barely allowed to cook at all BECAUSE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD!!!! So, amidst all of the "Pam, this" and "Pam, that's" the kids were begging me to walk them to the park. Anything to shut them up! I mean, anything to make the little darlings happy. We hadn't been at the park FIVE MINUTES when of the little boogers had to pee and couldn't hold it. As we were walking back to the house that we had just left not even FIVE MINUTES earlier, we noticed a commotion. People were swarming like flies on a fresh turd to somewhere. Then we began to see smoke and hear the sirens. I told the kids, "Someone's house is on fire." Then it HIT me like a ton of bricks! "YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE!"

By the time we got there the firemen were trying to bust the door in so they could put the fire out. I had left without the key and the door was locked so there was no way we could have gotten back in the apartment anyway. OOPS! The fireman said the apartment was at the point of exploding when they finally got the door open just in the nick of time. That would have been worse than OOPS.

My mom and another one of my cousins just happened to both be driving through town when they saw all of the fire engines turn into the apartment complex. Since nibbiness runs deep in my family, they both followed behind to see what the commotion was all about. Imagine their surprise to find me knee deep in the middle of it! Donna and her husband were called to come home, but there wasn't really much of a home to come back to. The smoke damage had destroyed everything. So, my mom brought them home to stay with us while they were waiting for another apartment.

My dad always worked 2nd shift. When he came home from work that night, Mom met him at the back door. "Hi, Honey. These are these are the Skeens'. They are going to be staying with us for a while because Pam burnt their house down tonight."

Do you know that Donna still insisted on paying me? Can you believe that?! She told me that it was a blessing in disguise because they had wanted a different apartment anyway! This woman was amazing! I always got a real kick out of her because she still used me regularly to babysit for her after that. I didn't get it - and I was 12. I had also burned their house down. Ain't no way I would have ever hired me again! I saw her not all that long ago and she was still just as sweet as ever.

I never broke anymore bones or burned anything else down after that year. I was glad for that. So were my parents! But I also had this phobia about frying things for many, many years after that, too. I still bake my french fries to this day.

Well, that was the year I'll never forget. Have you ever just had one of those years? Maybe just one of those experiences? If you have, I'd love to hear it!

I hope you have a happy and uneventfully good weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap Update

Yesterday I posted about the laundry soap I made. Since then I've done 5-6 loads of laundry - enough to start to get a feel for how the new detergent is going to work out. I have to admit...I am a convert!

In my personal opinion, Tide is the gold standard for store bought laundry detergent. Through the years when things would be tighter than normal, financially speaking, (We're not talking about my wardrobe today!) I would switch to a less expensive brand. I've about tried them all. We would always end up going back to Tide. Even when we were trying to compromise I would use Tide on my whites only and the cheaper stuff on colors. After trying out this homemade laundry soap, I must say that I and MW are amazed, though not surprised. It seems as though the healthier, cheaper, homemade versions of cleaners and detergents and what-nots that I have tried are also usually more effective at their jobs.

So, since you're probably sitting on the edge of your office chair and biting at your nails right now because of all the's what I've found so far. Even without adding an essential oil to scent the soap, it has a really fresh, clean scent that I prefer over the commercial stuff I was buying. The family noticed, too. Next, my colored clothes looked just as clean as ever. The real test was the whites. I think they actually look like they came out better than normal! No joke! On a side note about the whites - the website where I found this recipe mentions that if you have a really grimy load of laundry you may want to add an oxygen booster like Oxyclean. Since I use all white towels and dishcloths in the kitchen, they can get pretty yucky. BUT, I wanted to see what the laundry soap would do without adding an oxygen booster first. So, I stuck to my regular routine of just adding in bleach. And they still look better. The last thing that I have noticed and am absolutely astounded by (and so are my guys, BTW) is the fact that every single load of laundry has come out of the dryer MUCH, MUCH, MUCH SOFTER than normal. Well, I recently bought a new fabric softener and wanted to make sure that it wasn't the thing making the difference. I was pretty sure I had already used it in a couple loads of laundry with my commercial soap. But, I wanted to be positive. So, I did my own little experiment. On one of the loads of laundry I did yesterday, I used plain old white vinegar in place of the fabric softener. I had the same results! For some reason our clothes are WAY softer than before. I don't know if this is due to the fact that one of the ingredients also acts as a water softener and we have really hard water, or if it's because it doesn't have all the junk in it that goes into the store bought stuff. Frankly, I don't care. I LIKE IT! So much so, that I can't imagine going back to the other stuff.

So, there ya have it. My run down on homemade laundry soap. If you decide to make some for yourself, drop me comment and let me know how it's working for you.

I hope your day is as great as my new laundry soap!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

Back a while ago I came across a post at Living Waters Christian Academy for a link to The Family Homestead where there were instructions and lots of good information about making your own laundry soap. Being the 'ever looking for a way to save a buck and do it while being better for my family and maybe even a little bit more environmentally friendly' woman that I am - this really piqued my interest. The economics alone of making laundry soap at home were staggering. So, I promised myself that when I ran out of my current product I would give making it myself a shot. That day was yesterday.

I was amazed at the simplicity of this task. It only takes these 3 ingredients plus water.

Once all the ingredients are assembled - this is what it looks like.

I had saved a couple of containers from other laundry products to put my homemade soap in. It completely filled both containers and there is still a little bit more left in the bottom of the bucket. The recipe makes 2 gallons of laundry soap.

My mother-in-law was skeptical when I mentioned that I was going to make my own laundry soap. She had told me of a childhood friend who made her own out of lard and bacon grease! Ew! Is it just me or wouldn't that be like peeing in a fan? Anyhoo...this is nothing like that nastiness, at all. I didn't put any fragrance in it, but it still smells fresh and nice. Although, you can add essential oil to give it the scent of your choice if you so choose.

I thought this was going to be a daunting task. I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to make. I didn't set a timer (I will next time.), but if I had to guess I would say that it was made and in the containers within 15-20 minutes. It's much quicker than baking a cake - and will last a lot longer, too!

I washed my first load with it yesterday and all seems well. I'll update on how well it is doing after I've used it for a while. We figured out that the 1/2 cup of detergent it takes to clean 1 load of laundry costs between 1 and 2 cents. Amazing! It was approximately $.75 to make 2 gallons of detergent! That is some economics I can live with.

If you would like to get complete instructions on making your own laundry soap or would like to see the financial breakdown of the costs just go to The Family Homestead .

Let me know if YOU decide to make your own laundry soap and how it works for you.

Have a great day!
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Pooch Pics

Last week I wrote about my dogs but was unable to post pictures because my computer has had a mind of it's own lately. Well, thank God for Picassa. I found out by accident today that I can post pictures directly from there thanks to a new Blogger feature they have. Yay! So, here are the pictures I would have posted last week if I had been able to.

This first picture is Holly. You remember...the one that jumped out the car window? Notice the bandaged paw and stiches in her left lip (your right side, if you look closely).

Next is my dear, sweet, Layla. She is the best dog on the planet! I may be slightly prejudiced here, but not by much.

Layla is also a nail biter. I don't even have to clip her nails because she keeps them chewed down. Is that weird, or what? I've never heard of a dog biting their nails.

Well, there you have it - pictures of my pooches, both past and present.

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Thrifty Finds!

This past weekend I hit the local Thrift Store and T.J. Maxx looking for cheap "treasures" to decorate my freshly painted guest room with. I love getting a bargain! I get such a thrill out of taking someone else's "junk" and making it beautiful. I've read many of your posts and know that I'm not alone in this.

The first picture shows the cheap finds from T.J. Maxx. The picture frame was on clearance for $3.50. Not bad. The square, white plate (which I think is adorable) was a $3.00 sale item. And for my finds of the weekend...drum roll, please...the two blue and white plates...$.70 a piece! That's right! $1.40 for the pair! Yay for me! They were the only two left or I would have bought another one. I think I'm going to use the three plates as decoration on a small wall in the guest room. I'm thinking...stacked on top of each other with the white one in the middle. I'm pretty sure you can use a square plate with a plate hangar. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Tell me what you think...Will my idea work and look good on a narrow wall?

The next picture is of the things I found in our little Thrift Store. Small, lead crystal vase, $1.00. Double candle holder in an antique white finish, $1.00. Pair of white birds, $1.00. International Pewter candelabra, $1.00. And finally the small, silver frame was $1.00 at Dollar General Market. I'm not sure where I'm going to put the white candle holder, yet. I was thinking of putting the pewter candelabra on a nightstand next to the bed with the birds, some books...I'm wondering, though. Could I put that on the same table that also holds a lamp? Would this be a big decorating faux pax?

So my total was $12.90 for all 10 items. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I found today where my Picassa photo program added a feature where I can add pictures to a blog post straight from there. Yay! That means I'll be able to post pictures as I finish getting the details of the guest room put together.

More details to follow later.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wii Are Getting Fit!

I love to get things in the mail...or by UPS. Doesn't matter. But I feel like a kid a Christmas when I see the big, brown, truck drive up and stop in front of my house...just like it did on Wednesday. My Wii Fit arrived! Yay!

At this point I feel I need to back track a hair. When we went home for Christmas this year my sister and her family had gotten a Wii for Christmas. That was my first encounter with this new phenomenon. It was really cool and we thought it would be a good thing for our family. So we saved and bought one a few weeks ago. It has really gotten quite a bit use already. We also have heard a lot about Wii Fit - great things, of course. So, we thought that would be great, too. When Mom and Sis came last weekend, Sis brought her Wii Fit so we could see how it works. And, no, I'm not trying to keep up with my sister. She just happened to beat me to the punch. What a trend setter she is. She is this very tall, very thin, blond. I am this short, fat, brunette. When you stand us side by side we look like spaghetti and meatballs! Sometimes I even wonder how we come from the same gene pool! If you haven't tried Wii Fit before, it's awesome! It checks your posture, weight, BMI...and keeps track of your progress. It also gives you tips and helpful info to assist you in getting even MORE fit. What a machine. It's kind of like having a personal trainer.

We have looked for them in the stores and they are really hard to get a hold of. Sister suggested we look online. Like, duh...WHO is the blond here? Anyway, last Sunday I ordered one from Best Buy online, standard shipping. We received it on Wednesday. WEDNESDAY! Wow, that was fast. I was very impressed with them.

I am actually having FUN with it. This is something that I will ACTUALLY use. It's cheaper than a year's membership to the gym. I don't have to leave my house when it's nasty out to do it. I can use it in my P.J.s if I want to. And I don't have to stare at a blank wall like when I'm on the treadmill. It sort of tricks me into not realizing that I'm actually getting E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E. VERY COOL.

So, I'm making it official. I'm putting it out there in Bloggy Land. I'm hoping to lose my newlywed weight. Or was it my baby fat? I think it's actually my 'I really like to eat too much and can't stay out of the Girl Scout Cookies. I can't believe I ate a whole box of Samoas by one day.' fat.

On an encouraging note - Wii Fit tracks every single ounce you lose. You don't have to wait for a whole pound to see motivation. I am happy to announce that just by playing on my new toy I lost 3.8 pounds this week. Of course that is after my 1.7 pound gain after the whole Samoa fiasco! But we'll keep that our little secret!

Wish me well.