Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Freecycle Rocks

My daughter, Girlie, and her BF text me the other day asking what I wanted for Christmas. I was at a loss for two reasons- 1) she's never really asked before and 2) I didn't have a clue.
I'm not materialistic like my ex thinks. I don't like shopping. I *hate* Wal-Mart (for several reasons on many different levels). I will avoid the mall like the plague.

My needs are few. I prefer making things myself rather than buying them. It's not only (usually) cheaper, but it's the knowledge I seek and then there's the pride in making something yourself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cooking Fool

I've been a cooking fool. Not to be confused with 'cooking fools.' Although I think that 'cooking fools' might be better for the country, it *is* frowned upon.

No, I've been making batch after batch of fudge. The first batch I made was an experiment. I ran across some 'cherry chips' and thought, why not? I'll give it a try.

Now, I'm not a lover of cherry anything. That stems from being a child and my parents taking my brother and I cherry picking. We sat under a cherry tree eating all the cherries we picked. I got sick and haven't really liked them since. But you never know. My taste buds could have changed. (Matter of fact, adult taste buds DO change, only to be replaced with another tastebud. Adults have around 9 - 10,ooo taste buds. BUT- it's not until an adult reaches around age 40 (women) and 50 (men) that their tastes actually change. Tastebuds age just like everything else. They get worn out and smaller, limiting the types of foods we do taste. )

But I digress....so without further ado, here's the Cherry fudge:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Have you ever sang a song, not knowing the lyrics but singing along, happily, with the wrong lyrics?

'Excuse me while I kiss this guy....'

'Rocket Man...burning up this useless telephone....'

Heh. We've all done it. We just make up the words we think they are saying so we can keep singing.

How about a memory? Ever try to retell a story word for word, but you've forgotten some of them so you make up what you thought it said?

I started wondering if there happened to be a name for doing such things. And there is.

So, now ya know.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family Mourns Teen's Death - Video - KOCO Oklahoma City

Family Mourns Teen's Death - Video - KOCO Oklahoma City

TK was a great kid. The family did not have problems. They were a very close-knit, loving family. To have this happen, for whatever reason, is shocking.
You would think the kids huffing would be the troublemakers- the bad boys- the poor home life kids.
This shows it can happen to ANYONE and EVERYONE.

Talk to your kids about huffing (freon or anything else). What short 'high' they get from it CAN kill, and HAS killed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Irish Blessing

If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.


So much for my not posting on FB. I had to comment and update my status.

RIP TK. Oct 20, 1998 - Nov 25, 2011.
A beautiful son, the youngest child of my friend T's four kids, died yesterday. He was in middle school. Unruly blond hair, blue eyed daredevil. Energetic and excited, he was a force of nature.
A wrestler, a hiker, a video game player. TK always had a smile on his face and energy to burn. A close-knit family full of activity, love and laughter, this has brought them to their knees.

TK went missing yesterday around 2pm. They were posting on FB 'if you've seen him please call...'
Around 6pm last night, they found his body, lying inert next to the neighbors ac unit. He had been huffing freon. His 14 yr old brother now blames himself because he said he knew, but didn't try to stop him or tell anyone.

My friend T just buried her father in June. In July, their 14 yr old had to be rushed to the hospital (diabetes) as they were hiking the Grand Canyon. Now, this.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Syrup the Light Fantastic

Ok, so that title was corny. I know. It sounded good when I wrote it though. Hey! Don't judge me!

I've been experimenting with making syrups. I first started with Lime syrup. Yeah, sounds weird, but it makes a great limeade! Seriously. So much so, that I wanted to know if I could make a Cranberry Lime syrup....and....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Laughter in Autocorrect-edness

Apparently, while texting to FB last night, I figured out every time I tried to say ' Bwah ha ha' my phone would autocorrect it to 'Beagle ha ha.'

Some people got a kick out of that.

Including me.

So much so that T1G decided to post Snoopy 'laughing' on my FB page. LOL

Beagle ha ha.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Oh dear I loved HR PufNStuf! This post was going a different place until I typed the title....which reminded me of the Saturday morning show and cartoon I used to watch as a kid.

It was the early 70's. Show intro's were much longer then and you had less commercials.
I think I pretty much only watched Sid & Marty Krofft and Saturday mornings. Like Sigmund the Seamonster!
The Three Stooges were afternoon shows...and Hogan's Hero's.
Okay- I'm going to go watch YouTube for a while now, being all nostalgic and crap. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Amok Amok Amok

Have I mentioned how much I *love* Halloween? Well, really, I love Fall, Autumn, whatever you want to call it. I love the falling leaves, the changing colors, cooler temperatures and the smell of apples, pumpkins and cinnamon floating in the air.

I love making Halloween/Autumn decorations, too.

If you remember my last years effort:

Well, here is this year's endeavour-

Amok Amok Amok

Which happens to be a favorite saying of mine around this time of year, too. Then again, I love Hocus Pocus!

What do you like about this time of year?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cherry Request

So the BF and I went to his dad's house last Monday. It's been a couple weeks since we stopped and said Hi, so we thought we would.

Of course, we hit a road side farmers market along the way. Found some wonderful bi-color sweet corn and picked up 36 ears. I spent the next day parboiling and freezing corn...but I digress.

So we go to BFdad's, and I give him some of the corn we just picked up. We talk about this and that, and he mentions how much he loves me! He is so excited that BF finally has a happy, loving relationship. (In secret, (meaning when I was not around) BFDad asked BF when we were going to get married....)

It was a good visit, and shortly before we left, BFDad says to me, 'You ever make a cherry pie?'
Me- yes, I have. But not for a while.

BFDad- I like some cherry pie. Man that's good stuff!

Me- okay then. Guess I will find some cherries....

BFDad- Oh, I like cherry pie! But don't go to no trouble just for me....mmmm, I love cherry pie....

And when BF and I got to the car, we laughed....yeah, I love to cook and bake, and I have another admirer....So I am now on the lookout for a great cherry pie recipe. So if you have one...drop me a line. Or message me. Or FB me if you know who I am. :)

Sleep is for Sissies

I need to go to bed. I have an early morning tomorrow....twice. I would explain but why?

Suffice it to say my sleep, which I don't get much of in the first place because my body thinks I don't need it, is going to be interrupted twice.

It's okay. I don't have a problem with it. I tell my body when I want to get up and it does. It hasn't failed me yet.

On a side note- I bombed my Econ homework. Only because I was not in the mood to do the homework, and I felt rushed (it was 3pm and homework was due the next day at noon). So, I got a C on the homework. Twice. (We're allowed to do it twice and the professor gives us the average of the two grades.)

So with the C, my overall grade dropped to a B. I hate that. It means I have to ace my midterm to pull it back up. Ugh.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Autumn, Fall Whatever. It's good weather.

It is now time to start baking again. I am in the mood to make bread....and lots of it. Preferably on a daily basis. Which is good, since we tend to eat a lot of bread.

I know, carbs. And not good for you and all that.

But we like bread.

And I like baking.

And boules are in my VERY near future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

*I* Don't Like Your Tweed, Sir!

A dear friend, or a mean-spirited one, brought this to my attention earlier today. And dammit! I cannot quit watching, listening or quoting!

From what she tells me, the illustrious Ellison bent her ear to Professor Elemental. She apparently decided to share the worm.

And am I ever so thankful she did!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer's Over

I started back to school a couple days ago. My first impression of my micro-ec prof was one of the negative nature. But, once class actually started, he seems to 'bloom' and I think I might get to enjoy the class.

I finally looked at my micro-ec homework today. Then decided to take a shot at actually doing it. Because really, why take the class if you're not going to do the work, right?

And there were questions on the homework that I sat there going, WTF? Isn't that a judgement call? How the Hades am I to know why when income increases that sales of guitars increase. There's a bunch of Jimi Hendrix wannabe's out there?

So I did what I always do- I deducted which answers it couldn't be, then picked from the possibilities left to me.

And guess what?

I got a 95.

Yeah. I'm stoked.

And for Algebra? The prof likes me. Well, not in THAT way cause I think he is gay. But as a person, likes me. I will perpetually be late to class because I get out of Micro at 845 and math is at 9am, 20 mins away on another campus. My micro prof said I can leave 5 mins early, and my math prof said I can be 5 mins late, so it works.
On the first day of math class, I walk in and prof says,'There she is! We saved your seat up front!' (which, btw, I have sat in the same place the past two classes I've had with this prof). So I go sit in my usual spot.

Today I come in my usual 5 mins late and Whoops! Someone is in my spot. I was flustered for about 15 seconds, then I just sat in the nearest back seat I could find.

Abotu 10 mins later, one of the other students said, 'Where's Cordovan?' And prof pointed to me in the back. The student says, "Oh! she wasn't in her seat I thought she wasn't here!'

Then the Prof goes to the unknown student sitting in my spot, puts his hands on the desk and says, 'This is Cordovan's seat. It is saved for her.' and then laughs and tells the poor scared guy, 'nah, it's first come first seated.'

But seriously? I hope my seat is open next week. (Thanks gay Math Prof!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blender Blunder

I love my blender. Really I do. I use it for all sorts of things. Most recently, I used it for creaming frozen bananas into ice cream.
This is my blender:

Pretty, right? I've never had a digital blender before. When I went in search of a blender, I found this one had the one main thing I was looking for- a glass jar. Do you realize how hard it was to find a blender with a glass jar? One that I could afford and not have to auction off my glass eyeball collection? Yeah, not easy.

But when I went to use it yesterday to blend tomatoes, garlic and onion into a salsa-goodness, it wouldn't work.


Do you see the part of the blender there, below, that shows the black disc holding the inverted blades? The actual part that blends things? Yeah, that one....

Well, it doesn't spin-a-roo any longer. Apparently, when I decided to cream banana's, I creamed a naner that was a little too hard. And POOF, I stripped the bolt that makes the spinner go all spin-y round.

I hate that.

Now I have to mail away for a new part. Oh well, at least it's not towels.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little White Regrets

I am not usually a 'I regret that' kinda girl. I like to live my life making the decisions I know I will not regret later. And yes, that even includes marrying the alcoholic, druggie ex-husband. I mean, he gave me three beautiful children, even if they do not know my worth.
I know my worth and that's what matters.

But this morning I saw a story on the morning show about a man who secretly planned his girlfriend's perfect wedding. He'd been asking her questions about it for a year. A YEAR! Getting her opinion on everything she ever wanted in a wedding.

And then on the day she thought they were doing a surprise BBQ, she was the one surprised when he asked her to marry him RIGHT THEN.
Of course she accepted, even if she was shocked and happy and ....shocked.
The groom even had his friends move the woman's entire bedroom furniture (except the bed) to the wedding site so she could have everything she might need to get ready.

The groom even had her wedding dress bought and secretly delivered for her.

It was an awesome story, even if the guy screwed himself because seriously, how's he going to top THAT?

Well, it got me to thinking about my own life. And the one thing I truly hate is that I never had a wedding. I got married at 11am by the mayor of a little town in NJ and by 1pm I was back at work. The witnesses were two people I had met only once that were friends of my uncle, and the only people I knew in town.

Now I think about my lack of a wedding, lack of a honeymoon, and I think back, that's one thing I truly wish I could have had.
Even now, I know I love my BF beyond anything I could ever imagine. But it will never happen with us. I'm not saying I won't marry him. But I am saying that the 'wedding dream' is meant for the young. For a dad that can walk you down the isle....to have a funny 'father/daughter' dance or husband/wife first dance and post it on youtube kinda wedding.

The kind of wedding where you find that perfect wedding dress and it doesn't look like a circus tent because of the 'middle-age spread' or too many doritos.

The kind of wedding that people don't secretly say, 'They've been together so long, why are we buying them shower gifts? Don't they have everything already?' or

'Why is she wearing white? Hasn't she been married before?'

The dream, the perfect wedding dream, is no longer mine.
By the time I am ready to be married again, my father would most likely have passed on. Or at best, be unable to walk (he already has a rough time walking a lot).
I could never fit into a beautiful wedding dress and think I am beautiful too. That's never going to happen.

So in some small way, yeah....my one regret is never having a wedding.

But that in no way detracts from the love I got in exchange once I found the right guy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zest of Life

Or lemons, rather. And not really zest. More like the whole lemon. And not a regular lemon. Organic lemons. Preserved. With Salt. Yeah, I know salt is bad for you. And as a general rule, I stay away from salt. Besides it being bad for you, my body doesn't process salt well. My ankles swell and it's not a pretty sight. Think the Elephant Man (or girl). Yeah. Ewww.....

BUT- all that aside- preserving lemons is easy. It requires a seal-able jar, lemons, and salt. (Kosher salt or sea salt.)

Preserved lemons are fantastic in stews or any time you need a bit of lemon zest and don't have fresh lemons on hand. Besides, watching the lemons in the jar is magic all on its own. Seriously. They meta-morph into something wonderful!

Just rinse the lemons before use, and voila'! Fantastic lemons.

I used organic lemons. But you could use Meyer Lemons or any really good variety of your choosing.
Just slice the lemons, rub salt into the slices and all around...then place in a jar and let sit.
Once the extracted juice becomes cloudy (about three weeks), you can place it in the fridge. As long as the brine covers the lemons, they'll keep for about a year. A year! Wow!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Joys of Porking

I am a Pinterest junkie. Yeah, I said it. After all, admitting is the first step, right?
Anyway- I ran across this fabulous recipe and I had to try it. You know me and my love of cooking.....I'll try anything once. Twice if I get a good review. LOL
So- here's a WONDERFUL Tuscan Pork Roast (they called it a roast, but it's really a tenderloin).

And can I tell you how easy this was to make? Seriously, I couldn't have asked for an easier recipe that looks and tastes as good as this does!

The recipe:
2 T chopped fresh Sage
2 T chopped fresh Rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1/4 t Salt (I use sea salt)
1/4 t pepper

Mince it all together and lay out across a cutting board.

Take your pork tenderloin and trim off fat and icky pieces (yes, that's a technical cooking term!).
Coat tenderloin in 1 T Olive Oil and brown on all sides in frying pan. You are not cooking it, just browning it to lock in the juices.

Take a baguette....cut out the middle.

Take pork tenderloin and roll in minced herbs. Place tenderloin inside baguette. Place any remaining herbs on top of pork.

Truss up the baguette with cooking twine.

Then bake at 375 until port reaches 165' an the fattest part. Remove from oven and let rest 5 mins. Slice through and serve.

Monday, August 8, 2011

10 Extract

Awesome to know!

I've already started two large quarts of vanilla extract. I'm testing the difference between a 1:1 and 1:2 ratio alcohol to water using the same number of vanilla beans.

I think I might try to make ALL of these. Hat/tip to Babble Blogs & the Naptime Chef

10 Easy Homemade Kitchen Extracts

1. Vanilla Extract: Here is Paula’s version of homemade vanilla extract.

2. Hazelnut Extract: 1 cup hazelnuts (toasted, skins removed), 1 split vanilla bean, 3/4 cup vodka. Add hazelnuts to a jar, add vodka, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean. Close and infuse for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain hazelnuts from extract. Sweeten the remaining hazelnuts with a dash of simple syrup if needed.

3. Almond Extract: Repeat process above for hazelnut extract substituting freshly ground toasted almonds instead. Steep mixture for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking the jar lightly once a day to stir up the almonds.

4. Vanilla Scented Sugar: Split a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds and add the bean to 2 cups of granulated sugar. Stir in the flavorings and store in a cool dry place for at least 10 days before using

5. Lemon Extract: Remove the rind of one medium lemon and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.

6. Orange Extract: Remove the rind of one medium orange and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the orange peel before using.

7. Lime Extract: Remove the rind of three medium limes and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lime peel before using.

8. Peppermint Extract: Clean and dry fresh peppermint leaves. Finely chop 1/4 cup of dried peppermint leaves and place in a jar. Add 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup filtered water. Shake the jar lightly once a day for about three weeks. Prior to using strained out the chopped leaves.

9. Strawberry Extract: Wash and hull 1 pound of strawberries and slice thin. Place in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the berries with cheesecloth. Return liquid to the pan and simmer until the berry water has reduced to a syrup. Allow to cool.

10. Lavender Sugar: Mix 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender, or washed, cleaned fresh lavender, with 2 cups granulated sugar. Allow to steep for at least one week before using.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pinching a penny and making it smell sweet

I like saving money. I like spending it, too. But saving money? Yeah, that's a lot of fun for me. Especially when I can save money on products I use but can make myself.

Today's Penny Pinch comes from the blog Old Centennial Farmhouse. Homemade Fabric Softener. And depending on the conditioner you use, you can specify the scent.
Here's the basics:

Pick your favorite scented hair conditioner, and get a move on! what are you waiting for?

I've also heard, although I haven't tried it yet, that you can take your fabric softener, soak a hand towel in it and let it dry. Then use the hand towel in the dryer. It is reusable and lasts for about 40 loads. Which is what I am going to do because I once had my repairman tell me liquid fabric softener was the worst thing you could do to your washing machine.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Human Dishwasher

If I never had to leave the house, I’d probably never bathe. Most normal women don’t have time to bathe. We have time to fix our hair in a manner that makes it appear as though we have bathed. My dream world is the one in which someone invents a futuristic bathing machine that gets hooked up to your bedframe, so you can sleep and bathe at the same time. Like a dishwasher for people.

Taken from one of my new fav DIY blogs, The Art of Doing Stuff

Friday, July 15, 2011

It Doesn't Just Make Our World Brighter

So last Monday morning a particularly strong but small storm rolled through our area. I thought for once the radar showed a 'promising' storm- not one of the wimpy Illinois sprinkles the people here call storms.
And I was right, sort of. It was a strong storm. It had a nice bow echo on the radar. It moved really fast. It unleashed lots of rain and lightening. I almost felt I was back home in my beloved Oklahoma....

But it only lasted maybe 15 minutes.

Poof, it was gone.

And so was our electricity.

You know, I've grown accustomed to electricity. It doesn't just make the world brighter, it allows me to Facebook, or blog, or Pinterest, or work. Besides, the season premiere of Eureka was on that night....which I couldn't watch....because we had no electricity.

Did I mention it was hot? It was like, Africa hot.
I barely slept Monday night. I wet my t-shirt and went to bed hoping the cold shirt would cool me off. Not so. And the food will be ruined. Ugh. I am not looking forward to buying new groceries.

By Tuesday, we decided to pack ship and head to Cheeseland and stay with the one and only wonderful Hostess with the Mostess.
And we brought the darn cat. Who was hilarious in his new surroundings.

So, we have electricity and tv and good company. We are all set. And even IF our electricity comes back on (They estimate today but maybe not as the electricians up here are union and we KNOW how they don't like to work) we will doggie-sit for the hostess with the mostess.

So- all in all, this week is working out. But I can say that I enjoy life WITH electricity a lot more than without it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Donut Frenzy

When I was a little girl, I never wanted for much of anything. Then when I was around 6th grade we moved to another state. Around 7th or 8th grade I remember things getting much tighter. So tight, that one package of Buddig ham fed four people.

My dad would do all kinds of things to help my brother and I have small treats, even on our limited budget. One little trick I remember fondly. And I still do the same thing today when I feel a need for sweets coming on, or I just want to give the boys a treat on a Sunday morning.
Biscuit donuts are easy and delicious. They are very versatile in how you form them, and even how you top them.
Enjoy this wisdom....

Biscuit Donuts

1 can canned biscuits
deep fryer (I use a frying pan with oil)
Paper bag

First, open the biscuits and separate the individual pieces.
I like donut holes, so I take each individual biscuit and either rip it or use a pizza cutter and turn 1 biscuit into 4 small pieces. So a package of 10 biscuits will generate 40 donut holes.

Roll each piece into a ball and fry until golden brown.

Drain on a paper towel or brown grocery sack for just a minute, then put donut holes into paper sack with sugar.
Shake the bag, then remove donut holes and place on plate to serve.

You can even use cinnamon sugar, or cocoa powder, or leave the donuts as they are.
If you choose to make traditional donuts, you can top them with the frosting of your choice or just use a sugar glaze.
There are so many variations, have fu
n with

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I do not usually blog politics. But I must tell you, I am scared. Really, honestly, truly scared for our country right now.
The current administration has not improved the economy at all. Not really one iota. As a matter of fact, we are worse off than we were three years ago when he stepped into office.
You cannot blame the previous administration, because our POTUS has acted upon and enacted HIS measures he said would get our economy back on track. But it has NOT.
If anything, it is worse than ever before. I truly believe that.

Now we (and when I say we, I mean the USA, the greatest country in the known world) are about to default on our debt. The POTUS also decided to dip into the Oil Reserves. What kind of message does that send to citizens? It says, 'Nope, we're not out of the woods. We might even double dip.'

The Democrats refuse to cut spending. Meanwhile, our deficit gets higher and higher.
If this were you or I making our own personal debt get higher and higher, the bank would cut us off. No more loans. Pay your bills. Stop spending money you don't have.

But Democrats refuse to cut spending and want to increase taxes ....and they still think this country can survive defaulting on debt and NOT stopping the spending? Who exactly are they trying to fool? And the Republicans refusing to even talk until their demands are met? Pout much?

I am truly scared that this great nation of ours is going down a path from which we will never recover. I believe Obama is running this country into the ground. The Dems and GOP are the kids, fighting amongst themselves not caring what happens in the end so long as they get their own way.

Meanwhile, The country they SHOULD be fighting for is getting hoarse from yelling at them to behave and DO SOMETHING.
Currently, I'm looking at country locations, a little land near a stream....where I can move when the economy collapses.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot Flash in the Pan

I thought it a fluke. Last week, Grau and I are walking through Wally World (I hate it to begin with, but it was a necessary evil) and we are trying to get in and out quickly.
Then, suddenly, someone turned up the heat in the fruit and vegetable section.

I swear they were trying to grow new vegetables. A hot house has nothing on the veggie section in Wally World. So I head to the cheese section. I need cheese....

...and cool air. We enter the refrigerated section and I hear some young 20 something say, 'Let's get out of here, it's cold!'
I just stared at her. It wasn't cold. Antarctica is cold. The refrigerated section at Wally World is NOT. Or so I thought.

Grau is laughing at me. I'm trying to stick my head into the cooler....it was Africa hot. *I* was Africa hot.

About 15 minutes later, things cool down. I feel better.

Yesterday, again in Wally world....I feel the heat creeping up....I head to the refrigerated section (see a pattern here??). Grau tells me I am flushed. He touches my arm...I am radiating heat.

I decided we needed Popsicles. RIGHT NOW. We get the rest of our things and go through the quick checkout and before we ever leave the checkout line, I have a banana popsicle in my mouth.

We get home and Grau puts an ice cube down my shirt. It wasn't cold. AT ALL. He rubs it around my back, the back of my neck, etc. It melts. I'm not any cooler....

Ugh. I think I'm going to hate hot flashes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Laundry Soap

Did I mention that I made my own laundry soap? I found many recipes around the net, but this one seemed to be the easiest. It works in HE washers, and front loaders, too.

You need three ingredients:
I found the Fels Naptha at the grocery store (or use Zote). The washing soda and Borax also at the grocery store (or Wally World if you prefer). Usually, Walmart is your best bet. None of them were particularly expensive. I think I spent $10 max on all three together and it makes more than one batch.

Now, the DIY part-

Use your handy dandy grater and grate the fels-naptha (or Zote).
To that grated fels-naptha, add
1 Cup borax and
1 Cup washing soda.
Mix well and you're done.
Yup. Done.

To use it- you use 1 Tablespoon per load of clothes. I've been using this for a week and have seen no difference between my homemade version and the expensive store-bought laundry soap.

Okay- one difference. Mine is cheaper.

I think out of the Borax and Washing Soda, I can get probably 5 batches of DIY Laundry soap. I just have to purchase a new Fels-Naptha for each batch. That's it.

Go me!

UPDATE 8/10/2011:
I did some research on OxiClean and guess what? It seems that OxiClean is made up of sodium percarbonate and some cute little secret ingredient blue granules. (Think, 'Color Safe Bleach.)
Now, what is sodium percarbonate, you ask? Simple, it's granulated hydrogen peroxide. When mixed with water, it turns into oxygen, water and soda ash. 

What is Washing Soda? soda ash. One common source of washing soda is the ashes of plants- for this reason it is called soda ash.

So what is this DIY laundry soap? It's a better version of OxiClean for two reasons-
1- Borax is better at cleaning laundry and keeping whites white, and
2- you know exactly what you are getting, unlike the OxiClean which had something 'secret' in it.
A third reason would be it is MUCH cheaper to make your own laundry soap!

With the DIY laundry soap recipe above, you are using Borax (a cleaner and whitener) with Washing Soda (a stain remover and cleaner) along with Fels-Naptha (a laundry soap bar helpful in treating stains).
So feel free to make your own laundry soap! You'll be glad you did!

UPDATE 11/17/2014: I've been using the 'liquid' (or rather, gel form) of the same laundry soap and it works just as well, and better on stains when you rub it directly into the stain. My fiancee works in manufacturing and comes home covered in machine grease. This works like a charm!
The original positing is HERE for the wet version of the same laundry soap- but the basic  recipe is like this:

Grate 2 bars Fels Naptha (or Zote) and dissolve in 6 cups hot water (not boiling), remove from heat.
Add 2 cups Borax and 2 cups Washing Soda. Mix well.
Let sit until top is solidified. Using a hand blender, mix well, adding in little bits of water to make end result smooth. Spoon into jars.

1 Tablespoon per load. Works great on stains. It's the only thing my mother uses now that I gave her some!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pore Strips My Pocket of Cash

Do you use those pore strips? You know the kind, you remove the backing, get it a little wet and put it across your nose only to rip off your skin remove it in a few minutes along with the gunk in your pores?
Yes? Well, Have I got a money saving DIY for you.
You can make a homemade version of the same thing! Yes, you can!

I found this recipe here, if you want to go to the source. But here's what you need:

A make-up brush
A small dish
1 tsp milk
1 tsp gelatin

Mix the milk and gelatin in the small dish and microwave for about 10 seconds. Stir and verify it is kinda goopy and not too hot before you put it on your skin. Use the brush to apply it to your face (nose etc). Wait 10 minutes and peel off.

That's all there is to it. Easy peasy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TP Organization

I organized my electronics drawer today....

Who knew TP rolls were so versatile?

Why Didn't I Think of That?

How often do you replace your shower curtain? If you're like me, you do it a couple of times a year, usually when the rings finally rip through the holes and no longer hold the curtain up.
I've been known to wash shower curtains, extending their life so long as the holes remain intact.

But I've another idea....

Winter is almost upon us. Okay, so it's not. It's like six months away...but if you start now, you might have a couple used shower curtains to use for this project.

Make your own Magnetic Windshield cover. (I know, right? Why didn't *I* think of that!!?)

Take your old shower curtain and lay it over your windshield. Cut around the windshield, leaving enough room for a hem. Then sew magnets into the hem and voila! An almost free, home-made windshield cover.

OR you can spend $20 bucks on something you won't have as much pride in...

Friday, June 24, 2011

We be Jammin'

So I walked in to my local Wally World the other day and lo and behold, strawberries were on sale for $1.10 a pound. Yeah, I know! It must have been a bumper crop this year. Of course I bought some. Some? More like 8 pounds worth!

They are gorgeous, no?

I thought, hey, I can make strawberry shortcake, or have strawberries on cereal, or better yet, I can make jam! Yes....jam....now, how do you make jam?
The last time I made jam, it was as a spectator when my mother made strawberry freezer jam last year. Before that I was a child in Nova Scotia and making Blueberry Jam with my grandmother. (I won't tell you how long ago THAT was!)

So this morning I woke with a stream of mojo and decided to get with it...

Once I took off the stems and washed them, I started to mash them up.

Now, I can't make regular jam because I do not own a canning pressurizer or even have a pot large enough to cover the jars and boil once filled with the red deliciousness.

So I made the next best thing- Freezer Jam. It takes less berries, but works just as well. And all you do after boiling your mash is put it into washed, rinsed and sanitized jars. (I boiled the empty jars in a large pot to sanitize since I do not own a dishwasher, either.)

Once the jars were sufficiently cleaned, I put the sugar and pectin in a pot, boiled it for 1 minute, removed it from the heat, added the berries, mixing well and poured 1 cup into each jar. I put the lids on to keep dirt particles out and the only thing I have left to do is let them sit on the counter for 24 hours before I add the bands and put them in the freezer.
It's that easy.

Personally, I think I did rather well with my lack of equipment. And the best part? I still have 4 pounds of strawberries left!
What should I do with those?

A Lot of Dough

I have an ex brother-in-law that worked for a major bread company. He knew which breads were fresher than the rest. Somehow, I never bothered to ask him how to tell the difference. Well, the people at Wise Bread have shown me the light....or the wheat, so to speak.

Breads have different colored tabs. The tabs tell you when the bread was baked. If you ever forget what color is for which day, go by the alphabet, because the colors are in alphabetical order:

Monday: Blue
Tuesday: Green
Thursday: Red
Friday: White
Saturday: Yellow

And here's a handy chart:

Now that's what I call helpful!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

First off, this recipe is compliments of Savvy Housekeeping.

I love doing some DIY, crafty, save money endeavors! This one did not disappoint.
Usually when you buy liquid hand soap, you're paying $2 for the cheap stuff and up to $6 for the good stuff. And that's usually the small sizes!

With this do-it-yourself version- you need water (got it!), bar soap (yeah, think I can come up with some of that, too) and glycerin (Okay, not usually on my shelf, but not hard to find at a pharmacy or discount store).

That's it, folks.

How easy is it? Three steps. Three steps easy. Here ya go:

10 cups water (use a liquid measuring cup)
1 cup shaved soap (use a dry measuring cup)
1 T glycerin.

Take your bar of soap- any kind you want (different bars render different results, so you'll have to play around) and your handy-dandy grater and grate your soap. As you can see, I grate my soap and then put it into a mason jar for later use in some other project.

Then, use a large pot and put in 10 cups of water, 1 dry cup of grated soap, and 1 Tablespoon glycerin. The mixture doesn't necessarily have to boil. You just want to heat it long enough that all the soap melts.

Then I turned off the stove and walked away.

Yup. That's it. I went out and ran some errands and had lunch and enjoyed my day.
When I got home, I checked the pot. The soap was now cold, and gelling (gel-ing? is that a word?).
I went ahead and added some essential oil at this point. About 10 drops of my favorite scent and stirred it through. Once mixed thoroughly, put into your existing, empty, liquid soap bottles. You will have some left over, depending on how many empty soap bottles you have. I just store my excess liquid soap in a 2-liter soda bottle under the sink. It's ready whenever I need to refill.

This goes a long way! You can get probably 5 or 6 bottles of soap out of this, depending on the size of your soap bottle.

Trust me when I say that you might need to play around a bit. Different soaps react differently. For example, if the soap you buy is a moisturizing soap, it may not gel properly, or if it does, it may not make bubbles when you wash your hands. If you do not use enough glycerin (the magic ingredient) it may not gel at all.
Some bar soaps are really lathery...that is, the type of oils used in making the bar soap is directly related to how much it lathers when used.
Other factors affecting the lather or bubble-ness of soap could be salt or sugar amounts in your brand. A third factor affecting the amount of bubbles soap produces is the water itself- hard water (water that contains lots of minerals) will not lather as much, no matter the brand of soap used. Whereas soft water will bubble a lot.

Again, play around with your circumstances. Maybe add a 1/2 t salt or find soft water if you are experiencing a non-lathering soap.
But, no matter what, the soap will clean without the bubbles. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Old is New to Me

Have I mentioned my love of old books? I haven't? Shame on me!
I love books. I love seeing them on shelves, in stacks, as decorations, you name it. I even like to read! (gasp!)
I like paperbacks for reading, especially if I am going to read a fairly recent work. But my real love is hardback books. The older the better.

Today, Grau and I went to an antique store and we noticed it was closed. Or at least it appeared closed as the gate to the parking lot was shut. So in my effort to turn around, I spotted a used book store. With 90,000 books in it! Holy Moly! I was in heaven.

They had the complete works of Dickens...the OLD ONES! Of course, I cannot afford them, but I can dream. I did, however, find two books I had to have. One is a 1896 book on Patent Law, the other a 1931 New Elementary Latin book.

I will probably only read the Latin book, but the patent law book looked very interesting. And old. I love it when I can find old books on interesting topics, in good shape, that are priced where I can afford them!

I would love to someday build my own home and have an old English library in it. Ah, to dream, perchance to live....

Monday, May 23, 2011

All Things Considered

Grau and I went to my daughter's graduation. It was a whirlwind trip. We tried to leave at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning, but his work schedule changed and he didn't get off work until 3am. By the time we left (aka, got on the road) it was almost 5am Friday morning.

I called my favorite OK winery on the way in, only to find out they were closed, getting ready for an Open House the following day. I was bummed! I told them I was the Illinois girl only in town for 36 hours, and they told me to call them Sunday and they would help me work something out.

Awesome! I did call them on the way out of town, and they opened their winery just for me. I love this place!

As for Saturday, it was run and rush all day. I had a couple of errands, like taking Grau to Dead People's Stuff, and my favorite herbal store (they have rows and rows of vitamins/natural products, and shelf upon shelf of gallon jars filled with bulk/ raw/ dried herbs). I found the bentonite clay powder I have been unable to find in my city. I know I can get bentonite clay online, but it is so expensive. I found it at NaNa's Paw Paw Patch for pennies of the online price.

Then came the graduation itself. I tried to get good pictures, but for some reason the lighting was off. I should have a couple pics that are salvageable, we will see.
I am just happy that my daughter graduated, unpregnant. Her class alone apparently has 22 pregnant seniors. Wow. It's an epidemic.

I tried to be cordial. I think I succeeded. Daughter asked me if I wanted to sit with them (or more to the point, if I wanted them to save seats for me). So I told her yes. With my mother coming along, I knew the ex and his g/f wouldn't say anything. (They don't say things in front of witnesses.)

But the ex did try to tell me that *I* needed to do something about middle son failing math and English in his first year of college. I basically explained to him that middle son does not work like the rest of the world, that he has Aspergers and that he needed to spend more time helping his son instead of blaming him.
The ex just kept saying, 'He's 20 years old, he should figure it out by now.'
Yeah, middle son doesn't work that way.
Then the ex tried to tell me that middle son passed the first semester, but failed the second, and that he (the ex) is making everything work, but that middle son just isn't doing his part.
I replied that apparently the ex wasn't doing everything, because the ex is never home, only yells at middle son, and that the failing 0 level classes proves that the ex is not putting in the time needed and that he needed to get off his ass and work with middle son.

Yeah, that didn't go over well.
I told the ex that he can not do the work for middle son, but that he did need to yell less, and pay attention more, and follow up / sit with/ and ensure that the work is being done. Help middle son understand what it is he's doing.

Don't get me wrong, middle son is highly intelligent. In other area's. Just not math or English.

After graduation Mom, Grau and I went to Chick-Fil-A since Grau's never been. When we got home, my dad wanted to take us to dinner....and we had to go because he wanted to spend time with Grau and I. We couldn't turn him down. So we ate again. UGH.

Then we met up with friends and had a good time with a couple drinks, lots of laughs and good food (which I did not eat- I was NOT hungry, lol).

I made plans for Grau and I to have breakfast with PBF and my daughter. The real reason was to let her know I did not approve of PBF, her choices, or her keeping me out of her life, but that she was my daughter and I loved her.

Breakfast was indeed surreal. When the pleasantries and eating were over, the discussion began. I could go in to all of it, but I won't. Suffice it to say that I told her (and her pbf) I would NOT accept pbf because of several reasons: it was morally wrong, he was too old, he was still married, etc.
I said the age thing could be overcome in time, like in 20 years, but that the married thing was a deal breaker. PBF is too much like her father, cheating on his wife. I cannot and will not change my mind about that. It goes against my grain.

In the end, Grau and I said our piece, they said theirs, and the understanding of say what you feel, but at least SAY IT, was brought into the open and we left with hugs and handshakes.

We then went to my favorite winery, which was closed but they opened just for me (I love this place!) and then took off for home.

We ate lunch (technically, dinner) in Joplin, leaving when the sirens went off and in which we thought we were ahead of the storm. As it turns out, the storm was slightly in front of us, but the tornado was off to our West and we were able to pass it without harm.
We then hauled ass out of there at 80 mph...and the 'nader was going 20mph, so we won that race.

All in all, it was an informative and pressure-releasing visit. I feel better about the situation, at least.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1770 Isn't So Bad

I spent last weekend reliving the 1770's. Complete with skirt (yeah, don't die of shock on me just yet!), petticoat, apron, etc. Yeah. It was a sight to behold.

I really did have a good time. Of course, we had a GINORMOUS tent. 20' X 36'
The center was the 'common' room and either end had two sets of 'room's.'
There were three couples and two kids occupying the rooms. We had two game tables, poker, dominoes, dice and cards. Fine china, screwdrivers & mimosa's. Oriental rugs on the floor and we even had a silver 5-candlestick table candelabra sit-down dinner for 18.

It was LOADS of fun.

What I thought fabulous was that the night we had the formal dinner, we also had a 'get-together.' Basically, we were the biggest tent in town and everyone came to us with their drink bottles to pass and stories to tell....Rain didn't stop our good time. Someone played the guitar, another the fiddle, spoons and some other instrument I could not even begin to tell you what it was. Laughter, gaiety and comraderie....But the get-together is not the best part.

I wake up early. I always have. It must have been around 0530 or 6am, late for me but seriously, I could not hold my pee any longer. So I got up and got dressed for the trek to the porta-johns. As I return, all hunched over, huddling my arms to my chest for warmth, the 'neighbor' says,

"I like your sign.'


"I like your sign" he says again.

Confused, only half from being so early and frigidly cold I reply, 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'

And he points to a spot behind me....and what do I see?

"Awesome!" I reply. And laughed the rest of the day. :)

Just a few more pics of the weekend: