Thursday, July 31, 2008

Laundry Soap

I am always looking for ways to be frugal or "green". A long time ago I found a recipe for laundry soap and thought I would share it with you. What with the high cost of groceries we all are looking for ways to cut costs. I have found that the things you can't eat seem to cost more and more. I LOVE this soap. My mom said she use to shave the Fels-Naptha and use it alone to wash clothes. Interesting that we are drifting back to what worked years ago! Here is another interesting won't find these products in Walmart! hmmm.....possibly because the big laundry soap manufacturers that Walmart buys from won't allow it?! Anyway, pennies to wash your laundry compared to the name brand or even generic ready made stuff. My local grocery store carries all three. If you can't find the Fels-Naptha you can substitute with Ivory soap or better yet, old fashion lye soap. A good friend of ours gave me a box of lye soap. It had been sitting in a shed, picked up at an auction and they were going to throw it out! It is the BEST soap. Amazing how soft your skin is with this soap. I even shave alittle in my wash and it softens the clothes. Great if you hang your clothes out on the line. The clothes are not quite so stiff. Here is another tip: if you dry your clothes in the dryer, look for those blue nubby rubber balls. I think they are $10 for a pair. Use them instead of those expensive dryer sheets. Your clothes will be soft and no static. Here is the laundry soap recipe:

1 Cup grated Fels Naptha Soap (I use a kitchen veggie grater)
1/2 cup washing soda (this is NOT baking soda)
1/2 cup Borax

For light or regular load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.
I know it doesn't look like much but it does clean the clothes. Ask your local appliance dealer and they will tell you that it is not the soap that is cleaning the clothes but the agitation of the washer. You will not see suds in the washer. Again, a myth that you have to have suds or the clothes won't be clean.

Lots of great websites on simple living but if you want a couple really great books, read these:
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
Both are excellant. Our kids are getting the first one this year for Christmas!

Don't talk about life. Do life!
I don't want to spend my life making a living. I want to spend my life making a life! I think LaVern and I are doing just that! Questions about it? Email me! Take Joy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Owyn---The Destroyer

Most of you know we have a Corgi dog, or I should say "I" have a LaVern puts it, "He's YOUR dog".

Dogs "get even". How do I know this? In the past, Mattie (the rat terrier) went with us everywhere, camping, walks, visits. Everyone loves Mattie. She is like a cat, sleeps all day and then all night. She was the best puppy, no chewing, easy to house break and no barking. You hardly know she is around. We rationalized that because she is now 11 years old that maybe we should get another dog (puppy) so that when she died the transistion would be easier. Makes sense, right? Along comes Owyn.

When making our plans for vacation we had to decide what to do with the dogs. Owyn just isn't through the training stages yet and we knew it would be hot. So for the second time the dogs were taken to the vet and kenneled for 9 days. We thought this time it would be a good idea to take Owyn's large bed as Mattie is so thin skinned that the cage gets alittle rough for her. Make her comfortable, right? I am sure both dogs did not appreciate going to "jail". LaVern's idea of being kenneled at the vet. Mattie succommed to it. Owyn got even. He ate the bed.
A dog is truly a man's best friend. If you don't believe it, just try this experiment.

Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour. When you open the trunk, who is really happy to see you?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Back home to over 100 degree heat! But it is summer in Kansas so no whining! We so enjoyed our time with the kids and grandchildren. We took our 1955 Hobbyline canned ham travel trailer. Went to Ross' first in Pella, Iowa. Pella is such a beautiful town. I love the town square with the stores all in turn of the century buildings. There was a classic car show while we were there so we all walked uptown for that. LaVern and I took the grandkids to a couple different parks where we hiked. I had purchased a used GPS so we tried our hand at geocaching. It was a blast and the grandkids were sure excited when we found the hidden treasure! Brenna and Gavin had great fun in the trailer. They thought our screen door was like the window at McDonalds so we were ordering our food at the window and being served.
Click here to view pictures.

Next we traveled to Rainer and Kalli's. They live on an acreage southwest of Winterset, Iowa. About 1 1/2 hours from Ross'. We camped for 4 days at the city park campground. The girls' fair was going on in Winterset so we spent our time there. The first two days was the horse show. Rainer's oldest, Cierra participated in the show with her horse, Mardel. She is an excellant showman, won Jr. Showman out of a class of 23 and took second place in the all around points. She does it all, roping, western riding, english riding, poles, barrels, halter, trail. Sidney, age 7 had a bucket calf. All three girls had numerous things in the fair; flowers, cake, leatherwork, photography. We had to get pictures of it all! Winterset is another great town to visit. Beautiful old homes and buildings plus the covered bridges.
Click here to view pictures.

We left about 4:30 pm on Saturday from Winterset and started the long drive home. Stopped at my aunt Wanda's near Omaha for about an hour. My cousin Tom and his wife Bonnie had just arrived from Illinois so we enjoyed seeing them. Drove to Lincoln, NE. and stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot. Then on home the next morning. Arrived about 11:00 AM. Spent the rest of the day unloading the camper, washing clothes, weeding the flower beds and watering.

LaVern has been busy this week with a bathroom remodel, built and installed a unit for a large walkin closet. Next week he is going to his nephew's home, south of Omaha and will spend a week there. He is gutting their bathroom and putting in an all new one. The following week is fair for us. I have rugs to finish! Stay cool!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On The Road

Will probably not be posting much this next week. We are in Iowa visiting the kids and grandkids and having a wonderful time. Did some geocaching yesterday and the grandkids were ready to go again today. If you have never experienced that you should try it. I'll catch you all up on it later. We are in Pella, Iowa now with the great Dutch history. Terrific town with beautiful old homes. Tuesday we head to Winterset where the covered bridges are. The 3 granddaughters there will be showing horses and their bucket calves this next week for the fair. We have our '55 travel trailer and weather has been delightful. Later. of purpose and spirit

Friday, July 11, 2008

Full Moon

Since a full moon is upcoming next Friday and last night was the first quarter moon I once again gave thought to the full moon and strange behavior. I am one of those "strange, wierd" persons that I swear the full moon affects. Any given month I can tell you approximately when there will be a full moon without looking at the calendar. Ask LaVern!! I can NOT sleep when a full moon is upcoming. Usually it is only 3-4 days prior but this month it has started early. Up at 4 AM on Thursday and this morning it was 2 AM. Yikes! I am wide awake and can not go back to sleep. So I get up and find something quiet to do as LaVern is sleeping away! My understanding is that studies have been done as to why this happens to some people, even animals. “Since the gravitational effect from the moon controls the tides in the oceans and humans are mostly water (70% or so), is it safe to think that the moon could actually have some effect on us?” A good night's sleep for me is 6 hours so a few nights a month of only 4-5 hours is okay. Look at it this way, more hours in the day for those things I enjoy. I finished three small rugs this AM with binding for granddaughters, had a cup of spiced chai tea, sat in the quiet and listened. It is well with my soul.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Wind

In human civilization, wind has inspired mythology, changed the course of history, expanded the range of transport and warfare, and provided a power source for mechanical work, electricity, and recreation.
Now I am sure you are wondering what THIS post is all about! Sometimes I wonder about my "wandering" mind. Have you noticed that the ONE topic that all people can talk about is the weather? Even if it is a total stranger, chances are good you will talk about the weather with them. Right now the chances are pretty good that sometime today someone will mention the California fires and their temperatures of over 100 degrees. Just this morning at the grocery store an acquaintance said to me, "This humidity is terrible but at least the wind isn't blowing." I LOVE the wind! Wierd, I know but let me share with you something I found years ago and have kept in my journal. I hope the next time the wind is blowing, it will cause you to stop and ponder this:
The Wind
I sit in the silence of my own mind.
Where there is no silence that I can hear.
I look all about me and yet see nothing for what I seek is unseeable.
Who am I, and where am I going?
I seek something that is constant, something that is stable.
Yet all about me is instability.
As I sit, I wait, as I wait, I listen.
Then I realize that there is one thing that I have missed.
For I have not seen it.
It is the wind, and it is always there.
It may be soft and peaceful, or at times, an all powerful force.
Even when people say there is no wind today.
I know that it is still there, we have just failed to know it.
This wind is sometimes called the Spirit of God.
It moved upon the face of the earth even before God created man.
It is the very breath of God.
We may not see Him, or sense His presence, but He is there.
If we but seek Him, we can find Him.
If we can be still in our hearts, we can hear Him.
Listen to the Wind.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Kitchen

Early settlers kept their homes cool in the summer by doing all the cooking, baking and washing in the "summer kitchen". This was either a separate room off of the main house or a small "shed" just a few steps from the back door of the main house. It would have open windows to let cooler air in and not heat up the main house. Pioneer women in our area used such things as prairie grass, corn cobs or buffalo dung for fuel. I read somewhere that it took a bushel and a third of cobs to heat the oven! Anyway, I have a summer kitchen of sorts! Not as primitive as the pioneer women (although I would LOVE one some day!) But just the same, the idea is there. I have a stove in our cellar. It is an electric stove (which I dispise so maybe that is why it is in the cellar) but the oven works great. The access to the cellar is outside which I don't mind at all. I do ALL my summer baking there. That way I do not heat up the kitchen or house! I do alot of crock pot cooking also during the summer. LaVern LOVES chocolate, nuts and caramel so here is a recipe that combines all three. Enjoy!
Turtle Cake
1 chocolate cake mix (I use the cheapest I can find)
1/4 c. evaporated milk
3/4 c. butter
1 (14 ox.) pkg. caramels
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. walnuts

Mix cake mix as directed on box. Pour 1/2 of the batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake 15 min. Melt caramels, butter and evap. milk. Pour caramel mixture over 1/2 cake batter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Top with remaining batter and finish baking. Mine takes about 15 more minutes. Rich, gooey and oh, so good!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Gift of Old Age

Received an email this morning, one of "those forwards" that was about things learned at various ages of life. After much thought I have decided old age is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body...........the wrinkles, the baggy eyes and the sagging boobs and butt. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving husband and family for less grey hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that raspberry scone with a cup of spiced chai tea, or for not making my bed, or for buying that piece of turquoise that I didn't need. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or hook a rug until 4 a.m. or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60's and 70's. I will play my flute while sitting on a stump at the park, making a fool of myself. I will wear my hair in a braid, put on round wire rim glasses and wool socks with Birkenstock sandals despite the glances from the younger set. They, too, will get old. I am sometimes forgetful now. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten! I can say "no", and mean it. I can say "yes", and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive! You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. I like being old. It has set me free. I like being the person I've become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. I will do my best to do what God wants me to do with what is left of the rest of my life. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance!!

Van Morrison