Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ooops...I fell off the wagon again...


A little over 7 months has gone by since I've blogged apparently. It's mostly because we have been BUSY!

We'll start with the big news and go from there.

This tax season was a rough one. First off, we were down to one car thanks to the Intrepid's transmission taking a nose dive. We ended up buying a new car (Nissan Xterra) at the end of March which we love and I use the Mazda as my main commuter car since it's little, paid for and good on gas.

We also got a PUPPY! His name is Maverick. He's adorable. It took me a while to warm up to him, but now I don't remember our life without him. He's a beautiful French Brittany Spaniel, black and white. Full of personality and love and has the potential to be a fantastic hunter. Time will tell :) Everyone loves him except for Lola and Viktor who like to team up on him, but at least they have each other :)

Another big change this year is that J's Crohn's was acting up. A lot. He spent most of the spring/summer sick. At the end of July we had a surgery called a re-section. This is where they went in a removed approximately a foot of his  sigmoid colon. He's been doing much much better since then, so it was worth it, for sure! He also ended up getting his wisdom teeth out around Labor day.

Spencer graduated from the Montessori program in the spring and has been going to the local elementary school. He's been doing ok there. Some things to work on..being quiet, finishing homework, motor skill stuff...but overall, he loves it, his teacher, classmates and that's what's important at this time.

I have been working, crafting, know, the usual. Still doing about a pin a it an outfit, a meal, craft project or maybe just thinking about a quote or downloading a book. Some weeks there are more, once in a while I don't get to do any but I'm trying :) My newest addiction is an ap by Target called Cartwheel. You get a certain amount of "slots" to choose different deals. So far I've saved over $10 on things that I was going to buy anyway--a couple of Christmas presents, dog treats, etc.

Still making my own laundry detergent, packing lunches for Spencer's school. Making lots of food from scratch. Saving money where we can and working on spending money on things I don't need/won't use.

All in all, life is good, but busy. Now that it's colder, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things on here :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Laundry Soap Update

You may remember about a year ago, I decided that I would try to make my own laundry detergent. I am continuing to make it, however I decided that the liquid was much more of a pain than it was worth. I use the powder and make triple batches at a time so I don't have to make it often.

For the powder you use:
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 bar of Fels Naptha

All of these items are in my Wal-Mart's laundry aisle. The boxes of Washing Soda and Borax are about $3 each and the bars of soap are about $1.

I use my food processor to grate the soap (I've done it by hand me, you'd much rather use the food processor). I then pour it in a bowl then switch to the chopping blade. I then add in a cup each of the soda and Borax then start slowly adding the soap. I mix this until the grated soap (which looks like cheese, I'll take a picture next time) turns crumbly. I have  a big container that I use to store this in so I just dump it all in. The soap will settle after time, so it's a good idea to make sure your container seals tight so you can shake it every so often.

Use about one tablespoon (more or less, depending on load size and how dirty the clothes are). I use plain white distilled vinegar in my softener holder and away we go. I hardly ever have to use my dryer sheets anymore!

I do still use All on our "dress" clothes, mostly because J's undershirts were getting dingy. When I bought him new ones, I decided to use the regular detergent to keep them whiter without having to bleach anything. I think I've been using the same container of All for over a year now though, since I only use one or two loads a week, if that.

I even got my mom, who was an powder hater, to start using this. She agrees that it smells very fresh and it's hard to beat the price. My grandma uses it in her top loading HE machine without any issues. I have noticed that sometimes it'll leave a little residue if I put the soap in on top of the clothes, but I've had no issues since I've started putting it in right after the water starts and wait a minute or two before adding clothes to the water.

What is your favorite laundry soap? Would you consider making your own to save money?

Monday, January 28, 2013


Man. This January has not been kind to us. Don't get me wrong, it could always be worse, but it's been tough.

First off, the tax rates/health care increases have changed our income by about $70 a month. Not enough to kill us, but the difference will likely be felt.

Then my car died. Specifically, the transmission. I've had her for about 7.5 years. She's been paid off for about 4 years. We knew it was happening and had made plans to replace her after tax season. Apparently she had plans of her own. One day she needed a little more gas to "go" out of the parking ramp. The next couple of days she ran mostly fine. Then Saturday came and she made some weird noises, but nothing bad. I went to go get some Lucas Transmission "stuff'" to help me out since I thought it might be a fluid issue. Alas, it was not. On my way to get the fluid, she refused to leave 1st gear, go over 10 mph and only when we were at 5000 rpms. I put the fluid stuff in, and it seemed ok for a couple blocks, but then when I cam home from the store, it was evident that she was just done. If you've ever driven through Ankeny going 10 mph, you'll feel my pain. It took me 30 minutes to get across town with both kids going "Moooom, why are those people honking/passing/staring/passing judgement?" ( they may have just asked about the people passing us, since I had my flashers on most people seemed to give me some lee-way.) Thankfully, my dad is letting us borrow his car until we are able to come up with something, which is pretty awesome of him.

The rest of things aren't big at all,but certainly inconveniencing  Tax season started, Emerson is back in daycare, Spenny is still going to school. Today Spencer is sick. Emerson got a fever and had to come home. He has a nasty cough, drippy nose and we are waiting for a dr's appt this afternoon.

On a positive note, I have lost about 6 lbs, which is nice since I've joined my job's Biggest Loser challenge. Winner gets the pot, which is around $225 or so. That'd be awfully nice to get ahead on some things (or buy myself smaller jeans! lol)

I've also been teaching myself to sew and been pinning away...even doing a lot of what I've pinned. I've been working on my Silhouette some, even dabbled in some vinyl which turned out to be way less scary than I thought. I've also been taking a lot of tips from a lot of organizational blogs and been decluttering, getting rid of stuff. I've turned my hangers backwards in my closet and started purging clothes. I've cleaned out under the island and got rid of stuff we've never used/will use/don't need. (Seriously, I apparently kept a ton of sour cream/yogurt containers that we never use...recycle!) I've cleaned under the bathroom sink and got rid of some hair products/make up. I've gone through the medicine cabinet (I had stuff that expired in 2009-10 in there!) I've been planning Spenny's lunches better and making things easier on us by filling snack bags with a serving of crackers/pretzels/cookies. I've been keeping up on the laundry AND putting it away. I'm trying to go into this tax season more prepared, so we shall see how it goes.

For now, I must get off of here and see if I can get logged back into my work site and get some work done before we have to go to the dr.

Hope this finds you all well and healthy.