Monday, April 26, 2010

How to come up with fast cash 101

I have a little competition going on with myself right now. We (me...and myself) are ripping apart the house, trying to find some fast cash. I haven't resorted to lifting up the couch cushions, though, because the only people who sit on my couch have pockets full of rocks and Nemo fruit snacks. My goal, you ask? A hefty $1,000. I had to get creative!!! I mean, it's not like I'm pulling in big fat paychecks. The kids "pay" me in taking good naps, and Seth "pays" me in,'d probably rather not know. ;) And what exactly am I saving all this fast cash for??? Not exactly, 100%, completely sure yet. I have a few options.....we're praying about a couple things.....big, major decisions that we're not entirely comfortable sharing with the world yet. Notice my suspenseful tactics? Yep, just reeling you in for another blog post. :) But one way or another, I will need approximately $1,000 in a month or two. So here is the low down on how to come up with some fast cash of your own!

1. I recently had to get a new cell phone. A rebate was offered. We (well, actually, he did it for me) took the time to mail it in and WaaaLaaa!!!! $50 Visa Check Card!
2. We went to Lowes to buy a tape measure. We have plenty at home, but we needed one on the spot, while we were out. On the back of the tape measure packaging was a $10 gift card. WaaaLaaa!! (and yes, we'll probably end up spending the entire $1,000 at Lowes. It's one ofthose kinds of decisions)
3. I just sold our bedroom furniture. For more reasons than I care to share right now, we really needed to get rid of the dresser. Well, if the dresser is gone, then that leaves a lonely headboard and footboard that doesn't match anything else in the whole house. We had another piece of furniture that would work really well for a dresser, and I have another up-and-coming project that will solve the headboard problem. I put it on Craigslist and it was out of my house by Saturday. Hello, $300!
4. We used to use disposable diapers. Now we don't. We use to spend roughly $55 a month on disposable diapers. Now we don't. But you know what's even more exciting than that!? For all of my hard work and willingness to change sopping wet mounds of peed on cotton, and scrub at stuck-on, thick and stinky poop, I get to have that $55 a month for my little fast cash fund! In two months time that'll be a grand total of $110!
5. My dear, sweet, amazingly patient, ultra handsome (can you tell he's been away a lot lately, and I am missing him like crazy!?) husband dumps his loose change into a ceramic bowl in our room. I was so giddy with excitement that I spent oodles of time counting it out tonight. The total of the loose change in our home!? $27.51!
6. I am very close to sinking the deal on a small bookshelf that we've had in our basement. Don't need it. It still looks brand new. Hello, Craigslist! Once the deal is done, I can add $15 to the pile!
7. I saved the most ironic one for last. I went through 3 bookshelves worth of books, trying to find at least one or two that I would be willing to part with. I leafed through each book, taking in it's smell, stroking it's soft, worn pages, remembering the time we've spent together.....yes, I am a book lover.....when what to my wandering eyes did appear, but a brand new $20 bill!!! Don't know how it got there, but am so excited to add it to the stash!

My total so far is....drum roll please...$532.51!!!!!!!!!!!

Just goes to show you what a little creativity and house-cleaning can get you! How much cash can you find around your house?????????????

p.s. here are a few things I could easily spend that $532.51 on, if I wasn't careful...

courtesy of Boden
Dr. Bronner's pure-castile soap. This stuff is a must-have in my "green cleaning" kit. I have the citrus scent now, but the lavender is WAY better.
Chicken coops. And chickens. Yes, this is a dream. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

The most insane thing I've ever decided to do....

You all are expecting a post on nose rings, right? Wrong! Sorry you have to strain your neck to view this one. I am too lazy this morning to go back and fix it. :)
This is a cotton, unbleached prefold (cloth diaper). So thankful we don't have to use safety pins anymore. This purple contraption is called a snappi. :)

We do cloth diapers for a couple of reasons. It's cheaper, of course. We can afford to use disposables, but the way I look at it is this: why in the world would you choose to use your money on diapers, when you can use it on fun stuff! :) We were also sick-to-death of those 9:30pm panic stricken moments of realizing we only had 1 diaper left in the whole house. In our case, we actually had 2 different families donate most of my diaper materials. This has been an enormous blessing, so we're taking advantage of it! Are there days when the kids have explosive poops and I'm wishing I could just throw the whole thing away? Absolutely. But when I don't have to ask Seth for an extra $40 to go restock the diaper basket, it's totally worth it. There are also MAJOR health benefits. I strongly urge you to check out this article.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Did you know?

Did you know that we make our own laundry detergent? I know. Shock of all shocks. I have a fridge stocked with fresh produce, I Zumba, and now this. Before you all start going "impressed" on me, you must also know that I have an entire bowl of chocolate in the fridge that I snack on from 9am - 9pm, my underwear is stretched out and faded, and I don't really like kissing. So there. :P ANYWAY, we started making laundry detergent about 9 months ago and we use the Duggar's recipe. You can find it on their website, but I'll give it to you here as well. A 5 gallon bucket (which is what the recipe makes) has lasted us for months and months. And it has cost approximately, um, well, maybe $2????? Go ahead. You can be impressed now. :)

Start out with a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. I think we buy it at Giant. You can probably find it at any grocery store. You have to grate the entire bar of soap up. It'll look like cheese. Don't get confused. :)
I have the cutest 5 gallon bucket they make. Thank you, Walmart! The recipe also calls for 1 cup of Super Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda!), and 1/2 cup of Borax.
Place the grated cheese, I mean soap, in a pot with 4 cups of hot tap water. Stir continuously until all of the soap is melted.
Then pour this melted soap and water mixture into your super cute 5 gallon bucket along with the Super Washing Soda and Borax. Stir really, really good. Then fill the bucket the rest of the way up with water.
Stir some more, cover the bucket, and let it sit overnight to thicken. The next day, get out an old, empty laundry detergent container and fill it 1/2 full with your new homemade detergent. Then fill the container the rest of the way with water. Shake it well before each use. I use about 3/4 cup for each large load of laundry. I've used it for ALL of our dirty laundry for months now, and have never had a complaint. Let me know if you try it! Or if you think we're crazy for doing it ourselves. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Romantic Getaway

The hubby has been away. Alot. Like, so much that now the boys don't ask when he's coming home. It's sad, I know, but it's almost over. April is just busy. We expected it, and now we're almost done! Between business trips and putting new floors in, I have been on my own with the kids for the better part of this month. I missed him! He felt like we hadn't really talked in a long time. And we needed some serious time to sit and pray together concerning some big decisions coming up. So we checked our calendars, lined up three different babysitters, and off we went! We had not spent a single night alone since before I was pregnant with Silas, our first born. He was conceived in July of '05 (just what you were dying to know, right?), so it's been almost 5 years! We stayed at the Joseph Ambler Inn, which is about an hour from where we live. I had reserved what they call the Queen Deluxe. This gives the option of either a fireplace or a jacuzzi tub in your room. Upon checking in, the Husband paid extra and upgraded us to having both in our room. What a guy! :) We got settled in our room and then headed down for dinner. Before I tell you how amazing dinner was, let me start off by saying that I am NOT a steak girl. I was born 'n raised on deer meat and had no intentions of having it any other way. I don't even like the taste of steaks. They are thick, and chewy, and all of those juices dripping off.....ew! But when we got to the restaurant that night, steak was one of the only things that I wasn't afraid to try. Four straight years of nothing but hot dogs, pizza, and spaghetti will do that to a girl. :) So I bit the bullet, said my apologies to bambi, and ordered a 8 oz. Filet Mignon. Our salads arrived. Delicious, except for the thin slivers of anchovies they put on his. Again: ew! The bread was amazing. Still warm and fresh and oh-so-gourmet. We were even served this fancy little dish of orangy-stuff to put on it. I pushed it to the other end of our table, thinking to myself that if it wasn't butter or jelly, there was no way I was going to risk ruining my warm, soft, fluffy bread. He tried it and loved it. So with skepticism thick in the air, I put just enough on the very tip of my perfectly warm, fluffy bread so as not to produce a gag reflex from me, the one who was trying to go out on a limb and order steak. To my surprise, it was delicious! I don't even remember what it was. It wasn't fruity, even though it was orange. And did I mention it had chunks? Oh yes. If you saw a little dish of orange chunky spread on your table you'd think it came from the last party of 2's gag reflex as well! So glad I tried it. :) And then the steak came. Oh boy I was sooo not looking forward to this. I just kept thinking "well, I'll just eat some and then fill up on dessert". This truly is my life moto. :) I grabbed my fork and knife, got my forearms ready for that sawing motion, and went to work. Funny this is, if you'll believe me, my fork alone cut right through it! Surprise of all surprises! "There must be something wrong with this steak", I thought. So I took a leap of faith and gently placed that first piece in my mouth. Fireworks went off, folks. My eyes rolled to the back of my head and I do believe I let a small, miniscule moan out. It was the most delicious steak I've ever had. Should be too, for that price. That night's dinner was the most expensive meal we've ever eaten. Don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of dinners at the country club. But all of those expenses went on daddy's card, not ours! :) This year will mark our 6 year wedding anniversary, and we never even ate that good on our honeymoon! So, needless to say, dinner was a winner. We finished up at the restaurant and made our way back to our room. I was freezing. I wanted nothing more but to crawl in that big beautiful jacuzzi tub that he so generously paid extra for. But there was one problem. He doesn't take baths. This was supposed to be a no-tv-no-cell-phone-no-computer trip, which meant if I took a bath, he'd be resigned to sitting there waiting for me to get done. He's pretty selfless, but I knew that was too much to ask. I've begged and begged for him to take a bath with me for 5 years, but to no avail. He's always said that the tub is too's a waste of time.....the water gets cold too fast....yada yada yada. But the poor guy was stuck. I was getting in that jacuzzi, and he was coming in with me! He started the water, and we turned on the fireplace. He even filled it all the way up (the tub, that is. not the fireplace) because we weren't responsible for paying the water bill. :) It was way too hot at first, so we both just stood there awkwardly wincing from the pain. Lovely visual, eh? By the time we got settled in, we noticed a cute little remote control pad mounted on the wall. Ahhhh, bubbles! How wonderful! I sat back and prepared myself for what was sure to be a lovely experience. He started pushing buttons and the thing exploded. Not literally, but imagine this: The water is just about up to my neck. 4 inches from the top of the tub. These jets are producing softball size bubbles, which are now splashing up, out, and over the sides, onto the floor. I start to panic. I am imagining the adorable 75 year old couple staying in the room beneath us, suddenly getting flooded out by our over-flowing, expensively upgraded jacuzzi. He is slightly amused by all of my concern and slowly but surely starts turning around to reach the control panel again. It was so loud I think our waitress in the restaurant could hear us. I start saying in a loud, overly-concerned voice "this is not fun! this is not fun! this is not fun!!!" Finally the bubbles cease. All is quiet. I give him the look of "don't you dare push another button". I start grabbing towels to lay on the wet, tiled floor when it all starts back up again! What he thought was the "stop" button ended up to be the "pause" button and these jacuzzi eruptions kept starting back up every 2-3 minutes. How could a cold, wet woman relax in these conditions!? Between the noise of the jets and me slightly yelling "this is not fun! this is not fun!", I never in a million years thought anyone else could actually hear us. The noise finally subsided when we heard the woman in the room directly above us whisper three short words. I have no idea what it was that she actually said, but the fact that I could hear her whispering meant that she was obviously able to hear everything that went on in our little jacuzzi escapade. I was mortified. I was positive she would know, the next morning at breakfast, that we were indeed the couple in the dramatically noisy room below. And what does a couple who have been married for 5 years talk about while in a jacuzzi. Budgets! Seemingly ridiculous, but it was necessary. And fun, if you can believe that. Our time away was wonderful. We missed the kids, and came to realize that we really do enjoy living with them. But it gave us some quiet time, which was very needed. I think it had been years since we spent that much time praying together. The kids survived without, none of the babysitters pulled out their hair in frustration, and we grew closer to God as a couple. Hopefully it can be repeated before the next 5 years come and go. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My secret little fantasy

Anybody have a guess as to who's jeans these are??? Or who is responsible for making millions of women drool with this guitar??? My secret little crush....since I was a very little girl....

Dwight Yoakam! Ahhh, good gracious. I could listen to his sleezy country lyrics all day long. I'm not adding a photo of his face because he is down-right, all-together ugly. Like, so ugly that he really does look like a murderer, or a rapist, or at the very least like Pottstown white trash. Sorry. Had to say it. This will not be my most respectable blog ever. There's your warning. :)

This is not Dwight Yoakam. But I'm not really concerned with what his name is. He is a man, with a saddle, wearing Wranglers, in the middle of nowhere.
There's me! Aren't I cute, and all domesticated looking? :) I've been making 3 meals a day from nothing but a sack of potatoes and some bacon grease. Before you start wondering if I've lost my mind, I have a confession. This is my deepest, darkest, truest fantasy. No lie. I'd love to be her. Well, at least for a few days. :)
Mmmmmm. 'Nuff said.
And here's our family portrait from the end of last summer. There's Seth with his team of mules. That other woman in the black is the town's school teacher. She's a bit stand-off-ish because we just informed her we'd be homeschooling.

So there you have it, folks! My most secret longing. If I could be anywhere, I'd be on the frontier. We'd be miles from civilization, and Seth would be in Wranglers. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Borrowing a post to explain exactly how I feel....

Letting Ann speak for me today, because quite frankly I am lazy, and because the mess of these hardwood floors is getting a little too overwhelming. May your weeked be a blessed one!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dimpled Cheeks and Demolition

Wow, it has been a while! A little bit of a rough weekend filled with fun times at the doctors office and lots of blood work left me cranky and exhausted. Not to fear! I am fine. We had a wonderful Easter that I'll have to blog about later. We were able to use our GINORMOUS tax return (hint: have multiple children and live off of one income) to purchase new flooring for our home. This is huge, people. I was almost in tears. Our carpet has been an atrocious mess and is really hindering our resale value. So he bit the bullet and forked over the mullah (aka: cold, hard, the form of a debit card, of course). Thus, the demolition. The rest is self explainable. So, I leave you with this...

Yummy purple fruit snacks, smooshed into well-worn carpet. Fabulous!
Sweet little Pais had to get in on the action. "Dad! I'm messing up my nail polish!"
My handsome hubby feeling very macho. :) I really did all of this work myself. He had just come home from golfing. (just kidding. smile.)
The mess that I am trying to ignore...."sigh...."
Snapped a picture of her first popsicle (which my boys call "papa-skittles"), later realizing the dimpled cheeks in the background. Yes, he was literally pee-ing off the deck. Boys!