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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Starting another series... eventually.

Home improvement and decorating.

Our house was built anywhere from 1912- 1940 depending on who you ask and what paperwork you look at.  Trust me, the wiring states the same thing.  Le sigh.

I'm going to be doing some renovations soon (with the baby coming, I don't really know HOW soon) and I will also be decorating.  Hopefully, I'll be able to show off my photography skills (yay, education finally coming in handy, huh?) and I'll get some stuff put on my walls.

I've turned my dining room into a craft room and desperately need to get it back to a dining room and have all of my craft stuff migrate back to the craft room again.  Right now I'm working primarily on sewing for the baby and the twins coming up.

So, to stay on focus (not an easy task for me lately!) I'm going to cut this blog short and just say that I'm going to start adding home improvements and my version of farmhouse decorating soon. :)

Be blessed!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Ok, for those of you who have been following my laundry doings, you know that I bought a washboard from

Yeah, first if you're going to do this, check the dimensions.  Washboards come in "regular" and "mini".  Apparently I bought the mini.  Yeah, this isn't big enough to do the cloth diapers, so I now have a great little rustic decoration to hang on my farmhouse wall.  No biggie, but it was disappointing at first.

So, I went to an antique mall "near" me (it's about 30 miles or so away) and was SO EXCITED to find a glass washboard.  I was so glad to have found this.  No really!  It's larger than my mini and is glass.  What's the difference?  Glass doesn't rust.  Word.

Ok, so I fired up my double sink full of hot (and boiling) water.  Meanwhile I was running a small load of diapers in the washer.  I took them out when they were done and threw them in the sink with the washboard, 1 tablespoon of my Laundry Soap found here (which I used in the HE washing machine, btw.)  (one exception to the laundry detergent, I make my own soap, and I'm going to update that on the blog soon) in the water and let the diapers sit for a few minutes.

After that, I started scrubbing the diapers on the washboard.  HOLY CRUDDY WATER, Batman!!!  ok, EW!  First, I thought a high efficiency washer was... well... efficient.  Apparently, not so much.

Anyway, I washed them on the washboard with a little extra fels naptha soap (I'm not a fan of the scent.  I'm going to make some extra batches of soap to cure for laundry soon.  I'll blog about that too!) but bot howdy did it do the job!  prefolds that I swore were permanently grey were white again!  WHAT????  YES!

So, after I washed them, I hand wrung them out and put them in the hot rinse water and let them soak until I was done all the rest of the diapers.  So after sitting, I agitated them with a plunger agitator that my hubster made me a few years ago

Friday, February 21, 2014

Routines... What does yours look like?

I have been thinking about establishing a weekly routine.  A long time ago, women would do certain chores on certain days.  I'm thinking about establishing that in my house.  For example, I've called it Blue Monday for a while because that's when I do my laundry- about 15 loads of it.

Laundry will be going a little (lot!) faster for me soon because my wonderfully amazing husband just bought me a washboard.

no, I'm not nuts, but I get that question a lot.

I asked for a washboard to assist me in my washing, not to exclusively DO my washing.  I have a machine for that, but this I wanted more for scrubbing out stains (I hear it's amazing) and for doing diapers.  I'm excited to try it out.

But anyway, back to the routine- Since I feel the need for established routines in my life with 6 children (I'm just going to go ahead and count the pre-born baby now.  It's easier than adding the addendum in there.) whom I home school, breastfeed, having 3 in diapers, etc.  I need to get routines done.

SO this is what I'm thinking:

Monday- laundry.  Wash, dry, fold and put away.
Tuesday- Kitchen and bathrooms
Wednesday- Dining room and living room  (Another load of diapers)
Thursday- kids rooms and play room
Friday- School room and craft room  (Another load of diapers)
Saturday- Family day- off.
Sunday- Family day- off.

What do you think?  What do your days look like?  Do you have a routine for your home?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Here's a math equation for those of you inclined enough to actually understand math... (I envy you in that department.  I'm good at basic math though.)

{(spring cleaning x nesting) / (short attention span + aching body)} x rambunctious homeschooled kids divided by even less time = how much sanity I have left in the day... by 9 AM.  I guess you could factor that as "X"...

I am going insane as the nesting instinct is hitting me full-swing, hard and my house has had 5 tornadoes go through it, from ages (almost) 2 to 9.  Oh, and my husband brought home a new puppy.  Of course I can't say no because it helps him with his stress, but he's not here letting the puppy out.

Anyway, nesting- The baby is "due" (Man, I hate that word!  It's not a library book!) in about 9 weeks and I have so much to do.  On the list of baby and baby related products to sew, I have:
cloth diapers (50+)
nursing pads (50+)
mama pads (100+)
a blanket or two,
3 sleep sacks.

the list of products I have to BUY are:
more diaper covers,
a pack and play,
a vehicle to fit our family of 8!  (we're actually looking at a 15 passenger van!)
and cleaning products.

So I'm going absolutely insane with wanting my house to be clean, but not having the time, energy or help to do it.  This is one of those dillemas as a mom.   Particularly, a homeschooling one.  I am with my kids almost 24/7.  I have a hard time ...ahem.... motivating them to clean.

See?  Even those of us with crazy senses of humor have stress and drama.

80 lbs of ground beef... and italian meatball recipe.

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and the subject of buying 1/2 a cow for stocking up came into conversation.  Of course, she and I are frugalistas so we were all excited at the prospect of it.

I was doing my grocery shopping and my husband and I decided that with some of our tax money, we would stock up on some meats to put into our deep freezer.  Boy howdy, did I stock up!

I bought a case of ground beef from Sams Club.  My intention was to divvy it up and freeze it for meals, as well as pre-make some meals and other useful things.

So my idea was this:
20 lbs:  into 1 lb sectioned bags.
20 lbs sectioned into 2 lb bags.
10 lbs of meatballs
10 lbs of meatloaf
10 lbs of taco meat
10 lbs of random ground beef for incidentals like sloppy joe or to throw into pasta sauce.

Well, when we first brought it home, it was easy and we sectioned it out- I tetris'd the freezer so everything fit- WITH extra room as well as all the other meat we brought home.  (I'll post on that in a few minutes!)  And even frozen vegetables.  The next day I delved into the refrigerator and was able to make some 5 lbs of meatballs.  I'm doing the other 1/2 today, as well as making and freezing the meatloaves.  The only problem I'm having now is finding the room!  Seriously both the deep freezer and the smaller fridge/freezer are packed full.  It's going to get creative here soon!

Anyway, what did I pay for all that ground beef you ask?  in total it was 233.33 not including tax.  Yes, I probably could have found it cheaper doing sales, but I really didn't feel like waiting until meat went on sale considering I had the money now for it.  So, my family will eat well for a while -guaranteed- and this will help me once the baby comes, having pre-made freezer meals, something that can easily be popped out of the freezer and thrown into a crock pot so I don't really have to "make" anything.   :)

So, with all of that said, Smart:  planning ahead always is!  Savvy:  for the most part- buying in bulk is usually cheaper than sales, so yeah, that's pretty savvy!

I have been cooking so long that I have no idea what measurements I used for the meatballs but they came out amazing!  here's what I did:
Italian meatball recipe:
5 lbs ground beef
garlic powder (about a 1/4 cup)
onion powder (about 1/8 of a cup)
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
breadcrumbs to suck the extra moisture out.

mix everything until completely and thoroughly combined- do NOT skimp this part!  no really.

deep fry on a lower heat.  You want it completely cooked through but not super crusty on the edges.  Let drain on paper towels and once cool, toss into a bag and pop into the freezer!  pull out what you need when you need it.  Btw, these make some GREAT meatball stroganoff.... just putting that out there.  (yes, that recipe will come eventually!)

Reusable Swiffer Pads

Hey Y'all!

I recently re-purchased a swiffer.  I'm not a fan of buying all the chemical laden products that come wiht it, and buying the pads constantly.  I have 5 kids... imagine the messes that come with 5 little ones who spill, smoosh, squish, and oh yeah- can leak a diaper....

Anyhoo, I did something that I'm rather proud of.  Of course, Pinterest to the rescue with how to make reusable swiffer pads.  After reading and of course modification, I made my own version:

I used microfiber cloths (bought some in bulk from Sams Club to use specifically for cleaning, but made these pads out of them!).  That's it.  No velcro.  Since the underside of the Swiffer is hook velcro, it easily attaches to the microfiber without any assistance.  These pads are technically reversible, they can last even longer than the type that you do sew the velcro to!


So dimensions:
11"  x 4 1/2"   -two put together.

Stitch around the edges with a zig-zag stitch.  TADA!  you're done.  How easy was that?  I have made 4 pads so far- mainly because my hands hurt so badly right now that I can barely move them to type this.  No really, I was taking a hatchet and helping my husband cut up trees that were cut down on our property this weekend, so I'm aching.

Oh, if you want to see what it would look like if you used terry cloth (btw, recycle some old towels!  Don't go out and buy new just for wiping up your floors with!) I used this tutorial here to get the dimensions.  She seems to know what she's doing because it it totally worked!

I will be making some out of terry cloth too as the microfiber tends to be a little hard to push on the ground.  May be because I'm sore but we'll see!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Obsess much?

I've recently gotten back into couponing.  No, I'm not all "extreme couponer" weirdness, but I like a good deal when I see it.  No, I REALLY like a good deal- like I stalk my mail guy (Rick's awesome, btw.) on Monday and Tuesday to wait for the ads that come out on Tuesday in our little small town.  No, I really don't but could you imagine how extreme that could be?  Sitting there in full camo with paint on my face and pregnant belly just waiting to leap out of the bushes like a jungle cat at some poor guy just waiting for his pension to kick in all because he has a grocery store ad?

But seriously, back to the coupon thing- I spent the better part of yesterday printing, cutting, sorting and arranging coupons.  Please, save me the Sweet Brown "Ain't nobody got time fo dat" speech.  I got myself a shoebox from the dollar tree (addicted to that store- but with a purpose!) and I made 40 envelopes out of scrapbooking paper.  Since I have massive hoards of that sitting around, I count what I did was "free" minus the $1.10 I paid for the box.  Wait, .10?  Yeah.  taxes.  Have to count those suckers in.

AAAANYwho, last Tuesday or so I went through all of my local grocery lists, and decided what I was going to get within our budget.  I have a set budget for both the 1st and the 15th.  Since I spent a few hours yesterday getting the coupons ready and today I'll be getting about 6 news papers (no, I'm not kidding!) to also cut the coupons out- and I'll be putting the newspaper to good use too, I have to start my seedlings- I'll be filing them before I do my grocery shopping today.

Oh, did I mention that I was woken up this morning around 2:30  with my re-found passion and asked my husband if we had a large cooler within access?  Yeah, I did.  I'm a little obsessed preoccupied with saving some money.

What coupons did you clip this week?  Oh, and don't freak out at the time I spent.  It's worth it to me to save my large family lots of money to get the things we want or may need in the future.