Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Life Lessons in Practicality, tips & household tricks

(Karen, Ruby, edit this freely until we get a good list going! I know several young couples just starting their households that could benefit from us figuring it out the hard way)

1. Don't buy a white trash can for the kitchen. White cans ALWAYS look dirty & icky (that's the technical term) when subjected to kitchen trash duty. Also, LIDS rule on kitchen trash cans! Nothing makes your kitchen look dirtier than seeing the trash heaped up- wouldn't you rather not see it if you could? And it keeps the smells contained better anyways!

2. If it takes less than 5 minutes to do, do it now. Future you is a lazy bastard, and you know it won't get done. Or it will pile up until it becomes overwhelming. Don't fall into the trap!
Yes, this hangs in my kitchen. Don't Judge. 

3.  You know you're gonna empty your pockets, drop your bags/purse/whathaveyou when you come home. You know this. Do not make life harder on yourself by not having a place specifically to do so. Even if it is just a basket to catch keys and wallets and pocket fuzz on the counter or side table, it will keep you from going crazy later looking for your keys. No entry area is no excuse. We have no entry area, so we put hooks on the wall behind the door for keys & coats, and a few steps away we have a cubby-thingie to catch the rest. Get thine self to Wal-(hell)-mart and get some hooks, or a basket, or what-ever-the-heck works for you.
 Two $4 keys hook bars and two $6 coat hook bars. 
This isn't rocket science, but it's kind of just as impressive when it comes to keeping clutter corralled.
And here's the magical hide everything that has no home elsewhere box. 
There's a bin for dog accessories, one for tools commonly needed... shoes get the bottom row... random junk I don't want to give away or throw out gets two bins, because one junk drawer is never enough... sewing stuff even has a bin. 
Aaaaaaannnndddd.... well, I'm not sure what's in the middle. Mail goes on top so Chris can see it when he gets home, and we can leave things for each other and know the other one will find it quickly. This was a Big Lots furniture piece for $90. The bins are from Lowes, (roughly $7 each, sometimes on two packs for $13) and I just picked them up a few at a time as needed. There are more of these bins in the hall closet holding random military odds & ends and one for gloves & hats which will probably move to the middle cubby at the end of the month. You know, when Winter gets here.  Because this is Wyoming, and that's just how we roll.

4. When you are going to meet up with someone at a public place (either because you don't know them, or are catching an out-of-towner on their way by on the interstate) Park at the very end of the parking lot. This makes you much easier to find.

5. Keep a microfiber cloth in the bathroom. When you are done brushing your teeth & have rinsed the leftover toothpaste down, dry the sink, then wipe down the faucet & mirror. Funk never gets started. A dry sink collects no scum... yeah, that proverb doesn't adapt so well, but you get the idea. And when the sink & mirror are clean, the rest looks better too. ( Seriously, I haven't had to SCRUB the sink since I moved in-- I started using a regular washcloth, but that stayed wet too long and too easily got stinky; microfiber is the way to go.)

6. Toothpaste: Buff a CD/DVDApply toothpaste to a cotton ball and wipe the disc. Wash with water afterwards and you’ve got a brand new disc!

7. Cornstarch: Untangle Knots Sprinkling cornstarch into tough knots, such as shoe laces helps loosen them.

8. Walnut: Buff Dings out of Wood Furniture Get rid of unsightly scratches and dings on wood furniture by rubbing a walnut on the areas. The blemishes will vanish quickly and your furniture and pocket book will be saved.

9. Club Soda: Make Your Breads FluffierWhen baking, where recipes call for water, add club soda instead to make pancakes, waffles and any other breads fluffier.

10. Salt: Keep Windows Frost FreePour a cup of salt into a liter of water. Sponge the liquid onto the inside of window to prevent frost from forming during the winter months. ( For single-pane windows)

11. Rubbing Alcohol: Remove Permanent MarkerDab the surface that has the permanent marker on it with a cloth or cotton ball covered in rubbing alcohol to make it disappear quickly.

12. Chap stick: Stops Bleeding When Nicked ShavingCut yourself shaving? Just swipe some chap stick over the cut to stop that constant bleeding. No more tissue squares!

13. Apple Juice: Removes DandruffDon’t ask how it works, but it does! Instead of buying a special shampoo, just wash your hair in apple juice to rid your scalp of pesky dandruff.

14. Aspirin: Get Rid of Armpit Stains on T-ShirtsGrind up an aspirin tablet or two, then make a paste out of it using water, lemon or vinegar. Spread the paste on the stained area and let sit for an hour before washing. Alternatively, use a one to one mix of hydrogen peroxide and blue dawn (original type).

15. Olive Oil: Make Pets’ Coat ShinierAdd a bit of olive oil to your pet’s food to give them a healthier, shinier coat of fur.

16. Newspapers: Clean Windows and MirrorsInstead of using a spray and a streaky cloth, use only newspaper to clean off your mirrors and windows for a streak-free finish.

17. Baking Soda: Remove Bugs from WindshieldMix baking soda with warm water to make a paste. Spread the paste over your windshield for fifteen minutes. Then wipe or spray off with a hose.

18. Bleach: Extend Life of Flowers in VaseAdd a few drops (2-3 for an average vase) of bleach to vase water to prevent the build-up of the slime caused by bacteria. It works just like chlorine in a swimming pool.

19. Kitchen Dish Soap: Flea-Killing Dog ShampooKitchen dish soap (not dish detergent) can double as dog shampoo for its flea killing abilities.

20. Coke: Remove Blood Stains from ClothingSoak the stain in coke until the stain is dissolved, then wash the clothing as usual. Wash before the coke dries, though. Cola can also remove stains from concrete. ...and we put this in our bodies...

21. Honey: Remove Blemish OvernightHave a blemish you need to get rid of by tomorrow? Put a dab of honey on the blemish and cover it up (it’s best to use a Band-Aid) and the honey’s natural antibacterial properties will clean out the bacteria by the morning.

22. Wax Paper: Clean Can Opener GearsRun a few small strips of wax paper through the can opener to clean out of the bits and pieces that have built up in the gears throughout the year. The wax will also rub off on the gears to protect for future use as well.

23. WD-40: Remove Crayons from WallsUse the lubricant and a cloth to remove stubborn crayon marks from the walls just by spraying on a cloth and wiping.

24. Chalk: Keep Ants and Slugs Out of the HouseAnts and Slugs Won’t Touch Chalk. So, simply draw a line in front of your doorway where you are having problems with these pesky critters and they won’t cross it, meaning they won’t be able to get into your house. Best when done with sidewalk type chalk- the thicker the line, the more effective it will be. Just remember to replace after it rains.

25. Vinegar: Kills Weeds and Helps Flowers GrowVinegar is a magic wonder when it comes to gardening. It not only kills weeds but they help flowers grow as well. Douse vinegar all around your garden to prevent weeds from popping up and to help your flowers to grow healthy and strong. For stubborn weeds, mix with some dish soap to help it stick.

26. Mayonnaise: Remove Bumper StickerSpread mayonnaise on the bumper sticker and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Then, rub the sticker off with a towel, leaving a clean bumper!

27. Tin Foil Ball: Replace Dryer Sheets PermanentlyInstead of using a dryer sheet ball up one or a few sheets of tin foil and toss it in the dryer. It removes the static electricity from your clothes and one can last up to a year.

28. Mouthwash: Cure Athlete’s FootPour mouthwash on cotton balls and then swab your feet. The alcohol will disinfect the bacteria completely if you continue this for a week or so.

29. Baking Soda: Clean BBQ GrillMix a cup of baking soda with half a cup water to make a paste. Dip your brush into the paste and scrub the grill. The caked on pieces and black residue will come off much quicker and using baking soda is much safer and cheaper than using cleaning chemicals.

30. Coffee Grounds: FertilizerCoffee is full of nutrients and vitamins that are very beneficial to soil. That’s why some people include it in compost piles. If you want to get the most out of your coffee, pour the grounds on areas where you want more grass or flowers.

31. Olive Oil: Shaving CreamThe smoothness of the oil can replace the need for shaving cream, and it also provides great moisture.

32. Dryer Sheets: Gets Rid of Static Electricity
Use dryer sheets to remove static electricity from things such as clothing, TV screens or your own hair. Tame fly away strands of hair by running a dryer sheet over them.

33. Freezer: Freeze Candles to Make Them Last LongerPut candles in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using. Once you burn them, the wax will melt at a much slower pace, making them last much longer!

34. Two glasses of water: Cure HeadacheWater is the cure to most common headaches. To make the headache go away quickly, drink two cups of water very quickly. You can also use gatorade, or lightly salted koolaid. (Which is all the difference between regular koolaid and gatoraid)

35. Lemons: Deodorize Garbage DisposalToss whole slices of lemon into the garbage disposal then run it. The acidity of the lemon will rid your sink of all odors and leave a fresh scent

36. Alka Seltzer: Remove Burnt-On Grease and Food StainsWhen letting your pots and pans soak, throw in one or two Alka Seltzer tablets and the caked on residue from cooking will come off easily when you scrub/wash. You can also toss Alka Seltzer tabs int eh bowl of the toilet and let sit for at least 10 minutes to remove stains and scum. Let sit longer for heavy stains.

37. Apple Cider Vinegar: Relieve DiarrheaMix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into eight ounces of water to soothe your stomach. The taste may not be the greatest, but the antibacterial properties of the vinegar will end the unpleasantness of the bowel problems.

38. Toothpaste: Remove Scratches from GlassApply toothpaste to scratch, then rub with a cloth until the scratch is gone. Make sure the glass is clean beforehand.

39. Cheerios: Relieve Pain from Poison Ivy, Chickenpox and SunburnsPound one to four cups of Cheerios into a powder and add to your bath to soothe your skin while you soak. You may not feel relief while in the tub, but you will soon after.

40. Buttons: Sort EarringsOrganize your earrings and prevent them from becoming entangled by using spare buttons as holders for each pair.

41. Corn Oil: Prevent Hairballs for PetsAdd a few drops of corn oil to your pets’ food to prevent hairballs from forming. The thick oil helps the fur pass through the animal’s system much quicker and easily.

42. Whipped Cream: Remove Gum from HairThere are many remedies for removing gum from hair, but this is a lesser known one. Give it a try rather than peanut butter the next time you’re in need.

43. Brown Sugar: Facial Scrub
A scrub is good to do about once a month to remove dead skin and bacteria built up in pores and remove excess oil from the skin. Brown sugar does just as well as expensive products and will definitely result in a clearer and smoother complexion.

44. Dryer Sheet: Lint Brush 

You already know that dryer sheets remove lint in the dryer. Well, it can do the same thing out of the dryer, too. When you’re in a fix, use a dryer sheet. It works just as well as a lint brush, and if you like the scent, it’s an added bonus.

45. Newspaper: Deodorize food containers and Food Drawers in the Refrigerator 

For that stinky Tupperware or smelly refrigerator drawer that is too much to deal with, toss in a sheet of newspaper overnight before you deal with it. The paper will absorb the smell greatly reducing it or eliminating it completely.

46. Olive Oil: Unstick a Zipper 

The oil will help the zipper slide more easily, fixing the problem!

47. Salt: Cool Something Quickly

You know that feeling when you’re having a BBQ and someone asks for a drink and you realize that no one has put them in the cooler? There’s nothing worse than a warm drink on a hot day. Chill a drink quickly, by adding salt and water to your ice. The drinks will be cold in a matter of minutes; saving your party and making you look smart all at once.

48. Scotch Tape: Prevent Wall from Chipping When Nailing 

The wall can leave unsightly chips when hammering in a nail. Prevent this by simply placing a piece of scotch tape over the area you’re going to nail. The wall will be held tighter, preventing chips from occurring.

49. Alka Seltzer: Soothe Insect Bites 

Dissolve two tablets into a glass of water. Then use a cloth or cotton ball to apply it to the affected area. The red will go down and most importantly, the itchiness will vanish usually in fifteen minutes.

50. Lemon: Whitens Whites 

Add about half a cup of lemon juice to your load of whites to makes them extra white. You can use lemon juice with bleach or detergent, so don’t worry about mixing chemicals with the acidic lemon.

51. Banana Peel: Whiten Teeth 

This may sound a little odd, but rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth twice a day for two weeks and you will receive the same effect from a teeth-whitening kit. Plus, you’ll save yourself money and the hassle of using chemicals.

52. Hair Dryer: Free Photos Stuck on PagesIf you have a photo stuck on a page that you can’t get free, try using a blow dryer on the back of the page. It will loosen the photo from the page and the adhesive holding it there.

53. Banana Peel: Heal Most Skin ProblemsBananas are the magical fruit, because they heal many common problems on the skin. By rubbing the peel on your skin, you can heal bruises and cuts and eliminate rashes, itching and warts. Basically if you have a common skin problem, it can be cured by this fruit.

54. Cotton Balls: prolong the life of dishwashing / cleaning gloves
Take 5 cotton balls and cut them in half. Put the halves into the fingers of your gloves- your nails won't dig into or puncture the tips of your gloves 

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is my highly technical green monster recipe

Hey, I found where the pic went!This is halfway through cleanup!
The biggest chunk of the mess was on the lid and in my hand!
The dogs were SOOOO happy! (I was soooo "screw you, Friday!"

two handfuls of spinach.
two handfuls of frozen fruit of any variety.
one cup-ish of yogurt of any flavor (I buy the tub of vanilla and just use a big glob)
one cup of milk (this is the only thing that actually gets measured, because we don't keep milk around and I mix up powdered milk for it)
one small glob of honey (or lately in my case, one spoonful of crystallized honey, still works!)
one frozen banana

bland that ish until it's smoothie-like. (you may need to pause after a few sec's of blending to push it down the sides)

See? Technical.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's a good day

I know the day is still young, but it IS a good day. Did we come up with all the money we need? No. Do I know what we're going to do? No.
My husband & daughter (to quote Melodie) have "been workin all day outside"
She helped him replant his ghost pepper plant in a larger container. And she's wearing panties & no accidents! She's been silly, funny, and just in a general good mood! The boys aren't home, but I know they're having a good time w/Momaw & Popaw.
Later today, we'll be off on a dress hunt! Mellie is gonna be a flower girl in a wedding, so the bride & I are off to find that one dress...on a budget! After all, she's a recent college graduate with only a minor job at this point, so we do these things!
I"m determined that I WILL accomplish some of the things I've pinned on Pinterest. Really! I'm not doing all that bad. I need to win Publisher's Clearing House so I'll have time to do all this stuff that will save me money!! ROFL! How ironic, no? I have to work & earn money, but to save money means I don't have time to do all the things that would help me save!!
Of course, if I could sell a bit more Avon, life wouldn't be too bad. I've broken even at this point, and that's good, as the money I've spent is on samples & small versions of products to use for make-over parties. It's an idea. Of course, haven't scheduled any yet, other than my own, which isn't til Nov 17! (Either of you being in town would be awesome!! You'll be my guinea pigs!)
OK, that's enough computer time...let's see what I can get accomplished today before Megan calls to go find the dress!

Friday, August 17, 2012

So, no shit, there I was with a handful of smoothie...

So I finally get off the phone with our office staff, finally got the fragging contrary vehicle from Thursday sorted out (ps, when you work with vehicles, don'tcha think the VIN number would be the one thing you make absolutely sure you typed in correctly??) sigh....

...so there I was, standing in the kitchen, making myself a green monster smoothie. And you know how sometimes the ice in your drink will suddenly slosh forward and smack you in the mouth? Well, my smoothie tried out that move. And before my brain could react to "oh shit oh shit the lid's coming off oh shit oh shit oh shit" my other hand shot out and tried to catch. I ended up with a handful of smoothie, a counter full of smoothie, and all down the side of the stove of smoothie. I just HAD to decide to make an extra big one today to share with Daisy & Damien. Oh yeah. Friday, why you suck so hard? You not Monday!

...so I am cleaning up, it's all in my socks, down my pants legs, all down the front of the cabinet (because in 10 seconds it goes from very firm mostly frozen to liquid melting everywhere, of course.) and I'm trying to figure out how to get the pile still on the counter to the dogs, because, hey, not gonna waste all that smoothie. Well, between you and me, I'll admit I just took my hand and splatted it to the floor. Fark it, there's already a mess, might as well take the easy route. They don't care, they'll lick up anything even remotely like food anyways, and well, it's Friday godsbedamnit. I took a pic of the impressive mess, but in true to crappy day fashion, it didn't save to my camera properly. /headdesk /iquit /where'sthefrigginrum? /icouldn'tmakethisshitupifItried

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blah, argh, & phooey

Sorry to vent to you two, and it's my same ol sob story I always have, but no money sucks!! This week we're only about $100 short to get by for the week. Sounds good, right? Well, it would be, if we weren't a couple K in the hole!

$600-ish to Propane
$325-month behind house
$350-ish past due AT&T
$400-ish 2011 property taxes (2012 probably due soon, so yeah, great timing!)

And the $800-1000 in medical CRAP that I don't think I'll ever get caught up on.

So yeah, it's just...yeah. Doug tells me not to worry about it, we'll figure it out. When? Where? Does he have money that's going to fly outta his hiney when we least expect it? Yes, I have faith in God to take care of me, but really? Does it have to be with the constant stress of being broke all the time? Can't we have a break where I have money in the bank for OH CRAP moments?

And, of course, there's the $16K that my mom has lent us in relation to our house. Let's not forget that!! No, never! Granted, she hasn't & won't say a word about it. But I know it's there! And it haunts me! I'd play the lottery, but I can't afford the flippin tickets! Is that not sad?

And we make TOO MUCH to get assistance for food. I could maybe get WIC, but at this point...I don't know that it'd help enough! I make my own stuff to save money here & there, & it seems as if the hole gets DEEPER, even though I'm spending less! I'm tracking my spending using mint.com & it SAYS I have an extra $300+ a month!? Where? Really? In what reality is it operating? *sigh*

Sorry you two. I think I've been whining about money for years now & you just keep listening to it. Thank you! *hugs*

Monday, August 13, 2012

The faster, smarter way to dinner.

"Hey, it never hurts to enter contests for free stuff!"
We all struggle with the “what’s for dinner tonight?” question. But I found a secret I want to share…ReadySetEat.com. Solve dinner in less than 30 minutes, using ingredients you have on-hand. Sign up now to get great recipes sent to your Inbox with the ReadySetEat™ newsletter and MAKE LIFE EASIER!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Dad's home from the hospital! He's still gotta take it easy, but he's home! The relief is...there are no adequate words.

Now I feel as if I can somewhat go on with life. There are still the biopsy results to wait on, & Doug's mom had her own yesterday on some lumps, so the prayers are still needed, but the imminent danger is past.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A quick revamp: summer dress to work appropriate dress

 Dress from Goodwill: $4 :)++
Knee length: ++
Browns and neutrals coloring: ++++
Plunging neckline that shows off your choice in bras: :( bad bad bad
very light cotton that floats on the wind easily: not so great in super-windy Wyoming
(no joke, moderate winds can take out a cinderblock wall)

So I got 2 yards of very cute trim from the clearance bin at Wal-mart ($4 total), dyed it with tea so it wasn't harsh white to match the more natural look of the dress, and did a very poor but serviceable run of basic stitches around the edge of the liner layer to give it a hint more weight to resist flipping up. (I have yet to master basics of my new sewing machine. Those fancy-pantsy double needle tricks will come later. Probably much later.)
 Then I used a short bit to cover the boobage area. Admittedly, this is still just pined inside with several safety pins. I ran out of ooph and hooah when the heat arrived sometime in June. And I didn't have a matching thread to hide the stitches until recently. But it works, and some day I will pester myself into knocking out those final stitches. 

So there ya go- $4 almost exactly right dress becomes just right in less than $5.
(ps. If you are going to stand on your bed in order to photograph a piece of clothing that is somewhat larger, and therefore awkward to photograph, you should make sure not to stand under the ceiling fan. It has no mercy on ponytails, or dignity)

DIY Butler Bag insert

(note: it's late, I can't sleep yet, but I'm getting groggy so this will be bare bones until...sometime)

I refuse to pay $100 for a purse with all the pockets. I can't even stand the thought of spending the $40 or so that Avon sells them for when I've experienced the way the Avon ones fall apart so quickly.
But I hate carrying a purse because this is what it looks like on a GOOD day.

So I decided to go back to elementary school crafts and make my own divider to go into a purse I already own. That's right- bust out those plastic canvas sewing skills!
 I just went the lazy route and picked up a three sheet pack for about $3 at Wal-mart when I was already there for groceries.
 There wasn'ty much in the planning this thing out department- I guestimated the bottom piece, and then started figuring out the sides and compartment pieces one by one. Then I heard Karen's voice in my head telling me to think about what order to put it together- you don't want the last bit to be you trying to shove your hand inside the smallest compartment.
 So I started with the little corner bit to hold pens- got the two inner pieces that would attach to a corner and whip-stiched them together.

 When you reach the end of a bit, just run the yarn back through a few stitches so you don't have knots sticking out everywhere.
 Then I stitched the bits to the end piece.
 See? It almost looks like a something! More stitching of small bits to sides and/or other bits...
 and maybe this is starting to look like something.
 Nit-pickers may notice that one section isn't as tall as the rest- I used only one sheet for this, and that's the piece I had left for this one bit, so it's good enough for government work in my book.
 Then I made sure to go around the top edges so I don't scratch my hands on any less-than-smooth plastic.
And approximately 4 hours in real time, or one hour of crafting mixed in the middle of yelling at the dog to leave the damn squirrel alone, answering the phone, getting a snack, some random bouts of cleaning, yelling at the damn squirrel to leave the dogs alone, more phone calls, bathroom breaks and general not-staying-on-taskery, I have a semi-pro looking organizer for my purse. The hardest part was threading the needle with the yarn. Seriously. Fourth grade level skills here. :)