Archive for ‘{un}Perfect Home’

September 19, 2013

Just call me Noah {part 1}

It’s been a crazy last few months!  On April 19, 2013 a major flood hit our area.  It all started on Friday and the kids were at school.  I knew the river was higher than I’d ever seen it, but never anticipated just how it would affect our family.  While sitting in the living room, I happened to notice my neighbor talking to the mail carrier.  Then the mail truck turned around and headed back the way she came.  Odd.  So I went out to check in with my neighbor.  He said the road was flooded and asked if I needed help getting stuff out of our basement.  I told him the Hubs would be home to help me after work, but thanks.  My concern grew, though, when he insisted, telling me I wouldn’t have time.  Yikes! He and I worked quickly to pull everything from the basement floor up into the living room.  Then I grabbed my camera and assessed the situation. Here’s what I saw.

Um…yeah. I started to freak out a little bit. I called the Hubs and told him he needed to come home right away. In the meantime my sister-in-law offered to let us come spend the weekend with them until the flood waters receded, so I started throwing stuff into bags for the kids and myself.  Since I was getting more and more anxious the longer I waited, I decided to go pick A and M up early from school.  The Hubs stayed back to continue moving stuff up and out of the basement.  By the time I left to head to school, the water on the other street out of the neighborhood was up to the bottom of my van.  I kept telling the Hubs to hurry up or he’d get trapped and not be able to drive out of the neighborhood.  Finally, at about 6:00pm he left {WAY too late in my opinion} and just barely made it out!
We enjoyed our impromptu sleepover with my brother and his family – A and M loved spending time with their cousins 🙂
Saturday morning we heard from one of our neighbors that the water rose a ton overnight and that our barn/garage was under a foot of water.  The roads were impassible without a boat.  The Hubs and my brother went over to the house to continue working on moving stuff and when they got there they realized that our chickens were trapped!  The water was actually waist-deep in the back yard and the door to the chicken coop was completely submerged, trapping the chickens up on their roosting bar.  Poor girls!  Fortunately the Hubs was able to save all 7 of our little ladies and canoe them to safety.
The great chicken rescue!
Sunday was the day the river crested, and our house was surrounded by water and the basement was completely full, 1 stair step away from reaching our first floor.  We never anticipated the water getting so high and we didn’t get anything off of the ledges around the basement walls, so all of my canning jars and a bunch of other stuff was floating in the nasty flood water.  Ugh!
We weren’t sure when we’d be able to get back into our house, so we packed up a bunch more stuff and headed  to the in-laws’ house.  They had just left for Florida for a week, so it was the perfect time for us to move in and settle in for a while.  Little did we know just how long that while would be…
March 8, 2011

FREE 8×10 Canvas!

I have SO many photos of my kids…on my computer.  I need to get some of them printed!  This is a great opportunity to get a super deal on wrapped canvas prints.  Canvas People is offering {for a limited time, so hurry!} a free 8×10 canvas or $50 off a larger size.  Check it out here!  FREE 8×10 CANVAS

February 4, 2011

Scum-sucker: HELP!

Let me just begin by saying: My poor husband!  A good housekeeper I am NOT.  I’m not organized and I don’t like to clean…but I’m learning.  Baby steps.  Lately I’ve been trying to tackle one area each day.  Like my mother-in-law {who’s a professional organizer–yikes!} always says, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Monkey M has been potty trained for less than a year and let’s just say, he has yet to perfect his aim.  This face has forced me to take on the bathrooms a little more often than I used to.  Believe it or not having a clean bathroom actually feels pretty good 😉  However, my biggest problem in the bathroom is the shower.  I’ve tried several different products claiming to “tackle soap scum and hard water buildup” to no avail.  We have hard {well} water and I just can’t conquer it on the shower walls!  Do any of you have any tried-and-true products that help power through the scum and minerals?  I  mean, I can get rid of in in small areas if I scrub with everything I’ve got, putting my whole weight into it, but there’s gotta be something easier than that, right?  {feel free to tell me, uh, hello…welcome to the world of cleaning.}  I’m sure The Hubs would be eternally grateful for any tips that would help make cleaning easier for me, therefore improving his chances of me doing it every once in a while 😉

February 2, 2011

A Greener Cleaner

A friend of mine from high school owns a company called Greener Cleaner, an enviro-friendly cleaning company. She makes her own plant based cleaning products and customizes the scent to the liking of her clients.  {How cool is that?!}   I recently asked her to send along a “recipe” that’s GREEN all around–good for the environment as well as the budget.  This one’s a  fun drain cleanser/deodorizer you can make and use with your kids:
~1~ Vinegar
~2~ Baking Soda
~3~ Your Favorite Scents {essential oils} – this is where we would customize!  I usually choose Orange with a hint of Lavender for its antibacterial properties. 
~4~ Measuring Cup


Now grab your goodies and head to the bathroom or kitchen sink!  Yup, that’s where we’re headed!  Also, call the kids; it’s going to be time for cleaning fun!  Hey, you want your kids to grow up to know how to do the basics, and to learn a few tricks along the way.  And while you’re at it, teach them how to take care of the earth!
Step1) now that you’ve arrived @ your destination, you’re going to sprinkle about 1/4C Baking Soda into the drain in the sink.  ~ I keep mine in a “shaker”, sort of looks like the Parmesan cheese holder @ Pizza Hut.  Can pick them up @ Hobby Lobby for about $2.  Label with Avery Label and Keep in Greener Cleaner Caddy!

{also a good opportunity to teach your kids about math and measuring}

{shake it, baby, shake it!}

Step 2) Now that your drain is nice and powdery {and hopefully one of your kiddos feels really proud–and you do too.  You’re teaching them how to clean, one chore you can “give away” and they feel “bigger” being able to help out.  And after all, a family is a team, right?}, you’re going to mix about 1/2C white vinegar with your essential oils/fragrance -for example: 2 drops Orange essential oil {I used the “grapefruit blush” fragrance I got from Hobby Lobby and used in the lotion}, 1 drop lavender essential oil. 

{sniff, sniff...lavender and vinegar??}

Step 3) SLOWLY pour this mix down the drain.  The slower the better {for the kids’ sake, mostly}, as your “experiment” is working right before your eyes!  The kids will love the dramatization and the vinegar will react with the baking soda {think science fair volcano!} to take all the gunk off the walls of the pipes as it flows down. 
**Follow these steps on all your drains–bathroom, shower, kitchen, and laundry room–about once a month as routine maintenance.  It’s quick and easy; nothing to it, really.  It lasts a long time and smells so fresh!  {My little Helper A was concerned about the smell of the vinegar, but it goes away quickly, I promise!}

{here comes the exciting part!}

{bubble, bubble...with some stuck-on food just for good measure}


I had A helping me through the process–she just LOVES to help!  We did 2 kitchen drains, 3 bathroom drains and one shower drain {my other shower houses all of the items that I’ve listed on eBay that are waiting to be purchased 🙂  So no drain to be cleaned there!} and it took less than 5 minutes!  And now, seriously, I can smell the grapefruit blush & lavender scent all throughout the house.  {SIGH of contentment}  I’m so not a cleaner, so this trick totally works for me:
Easy?  check
Easy on the clock {quick}?  check
Easy on the wallet {cheap}?  check
Easy on my mind {don’t have to worry about A & M inhaling dangerous chemicals}?  check
Easy on the nose?  oh yes, check!
July 21, 2010

Gettin’ {un}Dirty on the Cheap

About a year ago I stumbled across a blog posting about homemade laundry detergent.  Being that I a) am crafty and love making stuff, b) have sensitive skin, so the more natural the ingredients, the better and c) am cheap, I thought I’d give it a shot.  It was easy, fun…and it works!  I’ve been using nothing but this homemade laundry detergent for the last year and I don’t see any reason to start buying commercial detergent again any time soon.


{detergent ingredients}


1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/3 bar Fels-Naptha soap
Optional – several drops essential oil for scent (I use lavender)

I found all three of the soaps in the laundry aisle of Meijer.  I’ve seen Borax and the Super Washing Soda in a lot of other grocery stores, but the Fels-Naptha can be a little trickier to find.

{divided fels-naptha}

Step 1 Cut Fels-Naptha.  I “draw” lines on the bar with a knife so I have a guideline for the thirds.

{grated fels-naptha}

Step 2 Grate 1/3 of the Fels-Naptha bar into a stock pot.  I used my Pampered Chef cheese grater, but any old grater will do.

{add water}

Step 3 Add 6 cups of water and heat until Fels-Naptha dissolves

{fels-naptha + borax + super washing soda}

Step 4 Add 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup super washing soda.  Heat on med-high heat for about 15 minutes.  The original recipe says that it should reach a honey-like consistency, but I have yet to accomplish that…and so far it’s worked ok 🙂

Oh…and don’t be like me and decide that 4:00 in the afternoon is a good time to finally finish getting ready and FORGET that soap is cooking on your stove at a high heat!  Oops!  Luckily I caught it just before it cascaded into a super soapy mess all over my squeaky clean {ha ha…right} stove.

{to scent or not to scent...that is the question}

Now is also a good time to add a few drops of essential oils if you’d like.  It’s certainly not necessary–this stuff smells pretty darn good all on its own!

Step 5 Now you get to add 5 1/2 quarts of water {Not so good at conversions?  That’s 22 cups} and stir until it’s mixed well.  I have a large enough stock pot that it all fits, but you may need to use a bucket.

{fill 'er up}

Step 6 Using a funnel, pour the mixture into an old detergent bottle.  This recipe makes 1 1/2 gallons so you’ll likely need more than one bottle.  I’m impulsive and don’t like to wait around once I’ve got an idea. I didn’t have big enough empty bottles so, in addition to my two smaller Tide bottles, I had to improvise and use an old {very well washed out} windshield washer fluid bottle – ha!

{yep, an old windshield washer fluid bottle--whatever works!}

For a regular sized load of laundry, use about 1/2 cup.  I typically do LARGE loads {because I’m a procrastinator and let the laundry pile up until we don’t have any clean underwear left} and I use 2 caps full {Tide bottle caps}.

I’ve been making this detergent for a year now and I–just yesterday–made my 4th batch.  I’m still on my first box of super washing soda {about 1/2way through @ $3/box) and Borax {about 1/3 of the way through @ $5-6/box}.  I just started another bar of Fels-Naptha, but at $1.39 each, it sure doesn’t break the bank 😉

Stay tuned…today I made my own deodorant.  If it works and The Hubs doesn’t force me back to my old “regular” stick, I’ll post the pics and recipe.  Gotta love ways to work on that {un}perfect budget!

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