Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • How are we really into February already? The first six weeks of the year have been a blur and I need to get on the ball since Fudge has a birthday that is quickly approaching.

  • I went to my first formal crochet class last night, at the local fine arts center. It was an advanced class, but I was relieved to see I was keeping up.

  • The student in me lives on...last night's class reminded me that I could be in school full time and just love it...but I don't suppose that would pay the mortgage. :)

  • Fudge's class is listening to a teacher read Double Fudge by Judy Blume. Now he knows why I call him Fudge. We checked out Super Fudge and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great from the library and I am so enjoying reading these "classics" with him.

  • Snow, dinner out, and a dueling piano bar are on the weekend plans- bring it on!

Visit Danifred to join in the FNL fun!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Barrett's Esophagus- We Like GOOD News

The Hubs recently went in for Barrett's surgery #8...or is it #9? Really, we've both lost count. We actually had a really smooth day at the hospital- no waiting like usual and the nurse I think is fantastic was there watching out for us. Even traffic was good! It's like everything was smiling down us until the Hubs came out of surgery and we learned two unexpected growths were found and removed for pathology.

Well, the fantastic news came today- NED (no evidence of disease/cancer). That's always great news! We are so thankful. Additionally, the Hubs went from a diagnosis of high dysplasia down to no dysplasia (also a really good thing). The Barrett's is still present and there's still the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ, but this is some of the best Barrett's news we've heard to date. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and support.

The next step is the Hubs gets to let 5 whole months pass until his next surgery! That may not sound too exciting, but when you are on a 6-8 week rotation, 5 months is golden.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade Febreze

I won't use Febreze- I can't stand a heavy perfume and I don't like the thought of all of those nasty chemicals, so I've got a natural alternative. If you've not already read of my love of Vaska's Herbasoft, check the product out here.

To make the homemade fabric refreshener, a.k.a. "Febreze," I used the following with good results.

  • 24 ounce spray bottle

  • 1/8 cup fabric softener (pick your favorite or go natural with one like Vaska)

  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda

  • Hot water

Mix fabric softener and baking soda in the bottle, fill to within an inch of the top with hot water. Shake well before using. Easy peasy, no more gross dog smell on my couch!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homemade Fabric Softener

I've never been accused of being frugal, but I think the Hubs is getting me there. I like having more money in my pocket than going out the door on things I don't have to purchase. We're pretty much chemical free around the home, which is why I like the Vaska natural fabric softener, but IT IS $10 A BOTTLE. I started using the old trick of white vinegar, buying it in large, generic jugs for about $3.

I fill the dispenser almost to the top with white vinegar and add a tablespoon of the Vaska Herbasoft. However, I've had great results with the vinegar and a few drops of essential oil (lavender), instead of the Vaska. Either way, I'm very pleased with the results and thrilled I am not spinning chemicals and liquid animal fat through my washed clothes.

We also use soap nuts, but I'll save that explanation for another time :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Little Changes Make a Big Difference

No, that's not my bed.

When you have so many projects on the list, and a money tree is not growing in the back yard, it can be tough to determine where to start. Where will you see the benefit of your efforts? We are saving most of our bedroom projects until the downstairs ones are completed, because really, who's coming over and spending time in our bedrooms? No one. However, a girl wants what she wants and this girl wanted a metal bed.

We have a king size mattress but we had yet to agree on a headboard and footboard that would compliment the rest of the matching bedroom furniture (we moved up from a queen that was part of a set). I didn't want to look for a matching king set, but rather something that was different but would still coordinate.

Ah-ha, how about a metal bed? Wrought iron maybe? I love a timeless look, and it was a great idea in theory, which fell apart when we started pricing these lovely beds. Since we were not spending thousands of dollars on a head and foot board, we gave Craigslist a try...and got lucky. Got the head and foot board you see above for $60, and lived to tell about it. Much like our last Craigslist experience, we were in luck. I really should upload a photo of our bed all set up, but frankly, I'm too lazy to go make the bed, get the photos, download, etc. right now. So you get the ugly bedding above, but the frame really is lovely. The bonus for us was while we were furniture shopping for Fudge's room, we came across the exact same head and foot board for...wait for it...over $800. WIN!

Small investment, big difference in giving us a lovely looking master bedroom.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kids Bedroom Organization

Day 5...maximizing on a small space! We love our neighborhood but sometimes we have the wish-we-would-have-kept-our-townhouse blues. It's not that we really want to live there now- our house and neighborhood are perfect for Fudge, but we miss having a more modern, open and airy floorplan. Our 32 year old home is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and full of love and laughter, in an outstanding community. However, that cute little room with the dormer window that made a perfect nursery and toddler room is too small to be a bedroom for Fudge. So, we ditched the guest room about 3 years ago and moved him to the larger room. Our master bedroom and the bonus room are both large, but the other two bedrooms are small. Fudge's current room is about 10x10, but I'm not ready to let him move up to the 20x20 bonus room. He has a full-size bed crammed in his room, nursery dresser, nightstand, desk, and 9-cube's a tight squeeze . and he needs to upgrade to more than a small, 3-drawer dresser. Ever since the kid turned 5, he's been begging for bunkbeds. Now, for those of you who know Fudge, this request conjurs images of a kid jumping from the top bunk to see how far he can fly, or if he could spin from a ceiling fan- you get the picture.

The request hasn't let up and has only worsened since he's turning 7 this month. Here's the deal- the Hubs is rightfully afraid Fudge is going to fall or fly from the top bunk and break something while I dread moving back to a twin bed...only to have him ask for larger furniture as he grows. We realized we have a very specific need- a mid-height, full size matress loft bed with coordinating furniture that will grow with Fudge and will fit this small space. I tell you what, I should have just waved a magic wand with that impossible request, but lo and behold, there is a company that can deliver on this request! You can nest the furniture underneath, or pull it out and make room for a fort underneath the bed- score! I like that as your child grows, you can even convert this to a high loft. Who knows, the kiddo could take this to college someday. I wish the price tag wasn't so steep, but when you break it down (the geek in me calls this cost-per-use ratio) it's a nominal spend if averaged annually.

After church tomorrow we're driving an hour to the one furniture dealer in our end of the state that carries this line to check it out, but don't tell's our little surprise. Oh, the brand is Maxtrix.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent- Dry

Day 4...never say never! I swore I'd NEVER, EVER make my own laundry detergent. I've heard of people cooking up their own and it sounded like too much damn work. I'm trying to catch up on mountains of laundry around here and I was going through the expensive stuff in no time. Enter a recipe for homemade:

- 1 box of Borax (4 pounds, 12 ounces)

- 1 box BAKING soda (4 pounds)

- 1 box of WASHING soda (3 pounds, 7 ounces)

- 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap

- Oxy-type cleaner (about 3 to 3.5 pounds)

I used our kitchen trash can to mix all of the dry ingredients, then grated (or you can food process) the bars of soap and stirred those into the mix. The Hubs and I joked that Fudge, who helped me stir this up, would take this story to school and it would sound like we're running a meth lab. So for all of my teacher friends, yes, hard to believe but we really did make laundry detergent. Store in an air-tight container and you've got detergent to last you for months, for under $15...pennies per load!

I'm told you can use 1 TBSP per load, but I use 2 TBSP. This is also fine for HE machines- just don't put it in the dispenser- place it in the drum once you load the clothes. Let me know if you give it a try!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Love You Because...Frame

Day can do this one in a matter of minutes! I found this frame on clearance for $3- combine it with a piece of scrapbooking paper you like, letters/embellishments, and a Vis-A-Vis marker and you are all set to make something just your style.

This frame sits on our kitchen counter and serves as a quick way for the Hubs and I remind each other how thankful we are for the little things. This took less than 15 minutes to make! I used a Vis-A-Vis marker to write on the glass (shows better than dry erase) and it's easily wiped clean with a wet paper towel. This could also be a great, low-cost idea for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weekly Schedule Frame

Day 2...see, I can do this. The poor hubs, we are always on the run and I think he was having a hard time remembering Fudge's schedule, appointments, meetings, etc. Ta-da- the weekly schedule! I placed it near the front door so it's a visual reminder of what our week looks like or what's on tap for the day. This was a cheap and easy project!

The frame was purchased for $10 at Wal-Mart (blech) and the Vis-A-Vis pens were found in their office supply department. The paper, letters, and stickers used were from my scrapbooking supplies.

- Pick a frame set (brown or black)- yes, they come attached like that.

- Pick your papers.

- Pick your embellishments.

- Pop open the frames, cut to fit, insert, replace frame backs, and you are DONE!

- Go hang it on your wall and marvel at your masterpiece.

The hardest part? Selecting paper, letters, and embellishments you like. Mine does not match our decor, but it's whimsical, has bright colors, and I have a few owl stickers in there, so it's staying. If anything, it brightens the hallway.

The Vis-A-Vis markers are wet erase and wipe clean with a little water on a paper towel. I love that it is bolder than dry erase markers.O k, your turn...go get your week organized, and link back if you give this a try!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Granite Cleaner

Ready? Let's do this! Since this is officially day one, I offer one of my old standbys- homemade granite cleaner. Yes, that is my counter sparkling above!

I'm all about saving some $ and getting our kitchen granite clean, disinfected, and streak-free. Since it's black, it really shows any streaks. It reminds me of when you'd spill liquid on your lab table in biology class and as much as you'd wipe and wipe, it just wasn't coming up, leaving streaks everywhere. The Method granite cleaner is $6 for a little bottle which is gone in about 2 weeks. I decided to experiment and here's a recipe I put together. I checked online and the alcohol is safe on granite, plus it disinfects.

- 1/2 c. rubbing alcohol
- 5-6 drops dish detergent
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. white vinegar
- A couple of drops of essential oil of your choice

Mix it up in a spray bottle and for pennies you have a great granite or countertop cleaner. I've also been using it as I clean out the fridge. It does have an alcohol smell to it, but it works great, so I can't complain.

Fabulous February Home Challenge

After a quiet couple of months on the blog front, fair warning that I am back...for all 10 of my readers ;) Beyond the constant reason of "we're so busy," the holidays were insane (in a good way) and January kept us in a spin too. I'll admit it- the Christmas tree is still standing proudly in the living room and the Christmas cards were never mailed. Don't judge! This is a first for us too, but I have promised the tree will be down before the Super Bowl (Go Giants!) and the cards, well, who knows? At any rate, welcome February, the mulligan of 2012!

This is the time of year I go into post-holiday, we've GOT to get organized mode (and birthday planning for Fudge). And since one of my goals for 2012 is to have all holiday prep done by Thanksgiving (yes, I know, I'm laughing too), so we can peacefully enjoy the Advent season, I have extra motivation to get on the ball, the sooner the better.

Which brings me to my blog for February. To force myself out of the blogging slump, I'll post a daily project we tackle to get better organized and more streamlined around our chaotic (ok, messy), busy home. The hubs and I work full-time, we parent-full time, and frankly, it doesn't leave much time to worry about the house, so whatever I happen to post will be "do-able"- or will at least spark some ideas.