Saturday, February 27, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

We finally made it to the Buckeye State, and it's been a very cold, snowy welcome indeed! But really, we're very pleased with our new home, our area, and the amazing welcome given us by our new church family.
My goal is generally to be totally unpacked (except photos on the walls, for which I need my busy hubby's help) in one week. My eldest son informed me this morning at breakfast that I had only 5 hours left, so I'd better get moving. *giggle* Really though, thanks to my parents who spent a week with us and herded our herd so we could empty boxes, we're very close to ridding ourselves of cardboard for a while and should be totally ready to go to by the time hubby starts his new job on Monday morning. I've been guaranteed a trip to Ikea on Sunday afternoon (ALMOST HEAVEN!) and that should help me check off those final "needs" for getting settled in.
My favorite room so far is the upstairs bath. Now that the kiddos have their own bathroom (Yes!), we are having fun decorating it using my eldest's Monart Method sea-life art as inspiration. We added a super-cute under the sea shower curtain (it features an octopus pirate - hilarious!) and some new aqua-colored towels, and it's just a whole lot of watery fun for my Oceanic Five. :)

Thanks for all your prayers and patience during my absence! I can't wait to share about my trip to Ikea. (Oh drool...what a wonderful start to this new adventure!)

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

T-Day

Truck Day, that is. After a veeeeerrrry late night, we're ready to load up the moving truck. That's what hubby's doing right now, in fact, while I sit in warm, snuggly comfort in my mom's home office - toddlers plus moving men don't mix, so we went across town to spend the day saying prayers for their progress.

Since I'm not on my home computer, I won't be able to update the site aside from posting - that's why it's perpetually Laundry Day. Pay no mind to the banner, and keep on with your regularly scheduled Daily Focus Blocks!

I'll keep you posted on our progress, and "see" you in another time zone in a few days!

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Bootcamp Talk!

Link on over to read how Mandy and her family use a Daily Focus to keep things running smoothly.

Happy Bootcamping, Mandy!

Are you a Bootcamper and want to share your story? Leave a comment!

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F.A.Q.

Deanne asked:
"I want to buy your book, but I don't want it shipped, I want it in digital format. How do I do that?"

Easy Squeezy, Deanne! Under the ADD TO CART button on Lulu, there's a link that says "Also available as a download" - Just click, pay, and it will be ready for you to download immediately!

Happy Reading, friend!

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February Coupon

Here's another chance to pick up a copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers for a little less. Just enter the promo code WINTERBOOK at checkout for 10% off your purchase price!
Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bootcamp Talk!

It was a wonderful and humbling surprise to stumble across an encouraging review of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers a few days ago, through the homepage of Homeschool Blogger. Written by my friend Dell, this Taming the Chaos article is perfect for sharing with friends who are wondering what Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers is.

Thank you so much, Dell!

Have you blogged about your Bootcamp journey lately? Leave a comment and link to it, to share with Bootcampers everywhere!


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Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Proverb

Moving is like Christmas Eve: You put the children in bed early, you and your spouse stay up much too late moving boxes and re-arranging furniture, running out of tape, and make a general mess. Then the children wake up much too early and stop at the foot of the stairs, staring at the dishevelled living room in wonder. The only thing moving is missing, is cookies.

T minus 2 days!


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13: 4-13

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
 -1 John 4:16

May your day be filled with loving one another, Bootcampers.



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Praise Him!


Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels of his;
praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens,
and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the Name of the LORD;
for he commanded, and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,
tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,
creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens,
old and young together.
Let them praise the Name of the LORD,
for his Name only is exalted,
his splendor is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people
and praise for all his loyal servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 148 


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Proverbs

The last week before you move is like the last week of pregnancy:
You're tired and cranky, your back hurts, you're looking forward to a new chapter of life, and you just want this season to be OVER ALREADY...but at the same time, you're secretly begging God for just a little more time to get everything done. :)

T minus 4 days until we pack the truck.

Many prayers would be much appreciated!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Bootcamp Talk!

Here's what a few recruits are blogging about Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers this week:

Bring on the Bootcamp!

Cleaning Schedule - HMB


If you blog about Bootcamp, leave a comment and I'll link to your blog, too. Thanks for speading the love, Bootcampers!

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Happy Presidents Day!



Take 15% off your order at Lulu all weekend long!
Add coupon code "WASHINGTON" at checkout to save.
Here's your chance to Bootcamp even cheaper!
Offer ends 2/15/10

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dishes Done Cheap

My friend Vicky just had her first homemade laundry detergent making adventure last week, and is already asking about homemade dishwasher detergent. (You go, Vicky! :) I generally wash our dishes by hand but might be inspired to wash in the dishwasher if I thought it was really cheaper AND that the dishwasher actually CLEANED them.

Because she asked for a tried and true recipe, I've been searching around the 'net for one. I found out that many people use the simple 1:1 borax to washing soda recipe, but hate the film it leaves on their glassware. And then I remembered....I DID try this recipe...almost seven years ago. It did indeed leave a nasty film on the glassware, one that took almost a year to come off through regular washing. Yuck, grrrr, and no thanks.

Then I found this recipe at DIY Natural, which says commercial dishwashing agents include citric acid, and that's what keeps the film away. (By the way, the author of DIY Natural is the same author of Debt Free Adventure, which is a wonderful site for motivation and information about living a debt free life!)

Here is Matt Jabs' recipe:
5 SIMPLE INGREDIENTS

* 1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda = $3.99
* 1 – 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team® Borax = $4.99
* 1 – 48 ounce box of coarse Kosher Salt = $1.99
* 1 – 2 ounce container of food-grade Citric Acid = $1.15 You can find this online or at your local brewery or specialty beer store. If you cannot find this you can substitute 10-15 lemon Kool-aid envelopes per batch **the small unsweetened ones**, if you use any other flavor you could easily color the inside of your dishwasher (you need 10-15 envelopes to equal the 1-2oz of straight citric acid.) If you do not use some form of citric acid… you will most likely have the cloudy residue left that most “green” cleaners leave.
* 1 – gallon of White Vinegar = $1.79

COST BREAKDOWN & SAVINGS


Prior to making our own, we were using Palmolive eco+ liquid detergent. Here is the breakdown in cost analysis:

* borax | 76oz = 4.99 | 8oz=.53/batch
* washing soda | 55oz = 3.99 | 8oz=.57/batch
* citric acid | 2oz = 1.15/batch
* kosher salt | 48oz = 1.99 | 2oz= .08/batch
* total for 32 oz = $2.33/batch
* white vinegar (as rinse agent) | 1gal = 1.79 | 4oz=.06/fill

(**note** you only need to use 1 rounded tablespoon of this homemade detergent per load. If you feel it necessary… you may use a heaping tablespoon, but I do not.)

* Palmolive® eco+ gel 75 ounce detergent – $3.79 – 28 loads = $0.14 per load
* Jabs Homemade powder 32 ounce detergent – $2.33 – 50 loads = $0.05 per load

Here are the cost savings for my homemade rinse agent that goes along with this recipe:

* FINISH® JET-DRY® Rinse Agent 4.22 ounce solution – $3.99 – 1 fill = $3.99 per fill
* White Vinegar as a Rinse Agent 1 gallon solution – $1.79 – 1 fill = $0.06 per fill

That is a savings of 6650% on an effective rinse agent! Sounds too good to be true… but it is indeed true!

[I'm not sure where the Jabs' live, but I'm sure that my prices on all ingredients are a bit cheaper. Even so, homemade is probably cheaper than store-bought, no matter where you live!]



SIMPLE RECIPE & MAKING OF A BATCH

Each batch yields 32 ounces of resulting product which you should store in some type of container you were going to dispose of. I suggest something 1 gallon size or smaller so you can fit it under your kitchen sink; old coffee cans work great.
1. Start with these 5 ingredients:

2. Into a 32 ounce container – add 1/2 cup of borax:

3. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda:

4. Add 1/4 cup of citric acid:

5. Add 1/4 cup of kosher salt:

6. Put the lid on and shake it up well:

7. Label your container:

8. Fill “Rinse Aid” compartment with white vinegar:


When you do a load use 1 tablespoon of detergent per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but I do not).

This detergent will clump together but it doesn’t matter… just scoop out your tablespoon & forget about the clumps! It clumps because of the citric acid.

There you have it folks!

Simple, easy, fast, & efficient homemade dishwasher detergent.

(All photos courtesy of DIY Natural)
Read the original post or head over there for more free and natural tips and recipes!


I don't think I'm up to making a big batch of anything new right now as the moving van is coming in...gulp...ONE WEEK. But I'm definitely going to give it a whirl when we get settled in our new home.

Does anyone have another great dishwasher recipe? Please leave a comment and share!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The LORD is King

The LORD is King;
he has put on splendid apparel;
the LORD has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.
He has made the whole world so sure
that it cannot be moved;

Ever since the world began, your throne has been established;
you are from everlasting.

The waters have lifted up, O LORD,
the waters have lifted up their voice;
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea,
mightier is the LORD who dwells on high.

Your testimonies are very sure,
and holiness adorns your house, O LORD,
for ever and for evermore.

Psalm 93


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Friday, February 5, 2010

Heidi's Mock-Yoder Cinnamon Rolls

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am a huge fan of all things "plain". In fact, I'm a little bit obsessed with Amish culture. (Can one be a "little bit" obsessed with anything?)
 Around these parts, the best dose of plain living is found up the road in a little town called Yoder, which has a few wonderful Amish restaurants, furniture stores, fabric stores, and an amazing bulk food store. But what Yoder is world-famous for is its cinnamon rolls. Yup, a poster in a national tourism forum lamented, "Can you believe I left Kansas without trying one of their cinnamon rolls?" These things are so good, they ship them to "the big city" every morning so we can get a taste of the country, but at a cost!
 When we visit Carriage Crossing  we always come home with a box for breakfast the next day. But it's a bit of a drive just for pastry. So I purposed to try out a bunch of recipes until I found the one that was comparable. And I think I found it!

Crystal at moneysavingmom.com recently posted her bread machine cinnamon roll recipe, but I don't have one of those handy gadgets. So, here's my favorite recipe, using just my stand mixer (who I affectionately call Rosie.)

Heidi's Mock-Yoder Cinnamon  Rolls

    * 2 cups of warm water
    * 1/2 cup sugar
    * 4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (or two packages of dry yeast)
    * 2 eggs
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1/3 cup Canola oil (you can use any kind of cooking oil, but if you use Olive oil, make sure it is light or the taste will be quite...olive-y)
    * 6 to 7 cups of flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let sit for a minute or two. Add the sugar and salt. Mix. Add the cooking oil (or shortening), 2 eggs, 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth.

Stir in 3 more cups of flour. Begin kneading the dough, adding the final cup of flour. If the dough seems too sticky, knead in more flour, a quarter to a half cup at a time.

Let the dough "rest" for 15 to 20 minutes. (You can use this time to wash up the bowl and other utensils and to clean off the counter top.)

Roll the dough into a rectangle that's 24 to 30 inches long by about 16 inches wide. Spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the wide end, roll into a log. ****

Cut the cinnamon rolls into equal sized slices (approximately one inch wide each or slightly more) and place into two greased 9x13 pans. Put in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown).

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out of the pans, and frost them for a special treat.

This recipes makes two dozen cinnamon rolls. If you want REALLY BIG cinnamon rolls, cut into 12 equal pieces 2 inches wide.

****This is the point where you wrap and freeze them if you'd like to - read on for those instructions!

This recipe is so good, my family asks for it all the time. But it does take more morning kitchen-time than I am used to spending, and that can throw our MOTH day off-kilter.
However, The Happy Housewife recently participated in a freezer cooking challenge, and showed us how to freeze cinnamon rolls. I was skeptical, but I tried it and it worked beautifully! So now I can make this delicious breakfast without getting up any earlier.


Here's a quick tutorial:




Her instructions: Cut up your cinnamon rolls the night before and let them rise overnight in the fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes in the morning before baking (for my recipe).


Re-Cap: How to make Mock Yoder Cinnamon Rolls, Bootcamp-Style

1. Put the cinnamon rolls on your Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers planning worksheet whenever you would like to eat them.

2. As you create your once-a-month (or 2-week, or weekly) shopping plan, put the ingredients on your shopping list, and the number of cinnamon roll meals on the Preparation Worksheet for the corresponding week.

3. On Kitchen Day (either bulk cooking and freezing once, or on the Kitchen Day for each corresponding week) prepare your rolls up to the point of rolling the log of dough. Wrap tightly and freeze.

4. Check your menu for the next day (as you do every evening ;) and remove the dough log to thaw in the fridge if you're eating them tomorrow!

5. In the morning, cut them, let them rise, bake and ENJOY!


And for your sweet-tooth's sake, here are two bonus recipes:

Caramel Frosting:
    *  1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    * 3/4 cup butter
    * 1/2 cup milk
    * 3 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions:
   1. Bring brown sugar, margarine, and milk to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

   2. Cool for 30 minutes.

   3. Add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.

   4. Spread on rolls.


Cream Cheese Frosting:

    * 8 ounces cream cheese
    * 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
    * 1 lb powdered sugar
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1 pinch salt
    * 3 tablespoons milk or cream, enough to aid in spreading consistency

Directions
   1.Blend softened cheese and butter in mixer.

   2.Blend and whip in the sugar and vanilla.

   3.Beat in enough cream to arrive at the right spreading consistency.

   4.Spread on rolls and enjoy!

Both recipes makes enough frosting for at least two pans of rolls, but they store well in the fridge for a week if cover tightly.

If you're ever close to Yoder, you've just got to stop in for a treat! But until then, give these rolls a try. You'll be bringing a little taste of plain life to your very own kitchen.

Let me know how you like them!


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tweet -Tweet!

Doesn't the title say it all?
There's a fun new application on my iGoogle Home page (if you're signed up through Google, open iGoogle, and "add stuff") called Tweete, that lets me post to Twitter without actually going to Twitter. Plus, my Facebook account is linked to Twitter (and vice-versa) so I can update my Facebook statuses through Tweete, without ever going to either site (and being tempted to read, read, read waste time, waste time, waste time.
Click the link on the left sidebar and take a peek into my little life.

I cannot promise you'll be inspired, but you may be entertained.  :)

Oh, and I fixed my G-mail button so it actually links to my e-mail account. Which is what it's for. I'd love to hear from you!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shadowy Savings

My little Dassah's favorite holiday (right behind Christmas, her birthday, Easter, All Hallow's Eve, her siblings' birthdays and St. Valentine's Day) is Groundhog's Day. (It's just so hard to choose!)
She watched Punxsutawney Phil with great interest this morning.
So when I was on Lulu and she saw this add, she insisted that I post it here on the blog. Now you can pick up your copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers a little cheaper. But hurry, the savings expire tomorrow!








Happy Shopping!


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Bootcamper's Blogroll


Are you a Bootcamper with a blog pertaining to Homemaking/Christian Womanhood/ Wifehood/Motherhood - whether practical, theoretical, beautiful, jocular, frugal, philosophical, theological or nonsensical?
Or maybe you are Bootcamping quietly in your own home?
Grab a badge and link it to this page . Don't forget to post your blog address in the comment section of this post so I can add it to the Bootcamper's Blogroll here on the Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers Blog.


Thanks for spreading the word!!

We're so glad to have you Bootcamping with us!

Now get to work!

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Befores & Afters: The Kitchen

Here are the promised kitchen before and after photos!





My current kitchen has very limited storage space, but I do appreciate the slide-out racks. However, my cast-iron was making them so heavy that it was stripping the metal and wood...leaving metal and sawdust everywhere.



  



Not a great pic, but you can see the bits of metal shavings.








I switched the pots to a free standing cabinet, vacuumed up the shavings, scrubbed down the shelves, added some pretty liners and replaced the contents with lightweight things like Tupperware and plastic wrap.
Now when folks come to see the house and pull out the drawer, they won't have to put all their body weight behind it. (I, however, will really miss my cast-iron-drawer-pull-workout! One and Two and Pull that drawer! You can do it! Keep sweating!)

Next I went medieval on my stove. There are still some black marks that won't come off. Believe, I even tried SANDPAPER. Nothing doing! It's 55 years old. What can I say? I forgot to take a "before", but the"after" reminds me of a funny story from when we first moved into our home. The oven was absolutely filthy, and there was a self-cleaning spot on the dial. I spent over an hour turning the dial this way and that and could not, for the life of me, figure out how to turn it on. And of course, the manual was long-gone. So I scrubbed it by hand, using strong chemicals and giving myself a migraine. Two hours into Operation De-Gunk, it jumped out to me like a beacon. The self-cleaning instructions were written on the inside of the oven door.
Moral: Never let your oven become so dirty that you can't read the cleaning instructions inside. :)








 There. Now doesn't she look purdy?















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Monday, February 1, 2010

Color-Coded

Here's a little tip for those who do most (or all) of their laundry on Laundry Day (as described in Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers):
Keep four laundry baskets on hand in your laundry area: one white, one dark or brightly-colored, one red or pink, and one any-color.
Teaching your littlest helpers to do laundry becomes a simple exercise in sorting (or classifying, if they're older....hey, does this count as science?)
Simply train your child to take the laundry from the any-color basket (this is dirty laundry -- ours enters this basket from a chute) and place each item in its corresponding basket: white clothes in a white basket, red, orange or pink in a pink/red basket, and brights/darks in a bright/dark basket.
If you have a child who is old enough to wash a load of laundry himself, just enforce the home rule that a load should be started when that basket is full.
One more tip: If you don't do a load of wash daily, teach your laundry helper to hang damp or wet items on the edge of the basket. They should be dry by the next day, and can be placed inside the basket until Laundry Day. Or you could leave wet washcloths in between layers of dry clothing....if you think black mildew-dots are cute. Ask me how I know.

Have fun sorting! Now get to work!

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