Happy Memorial Day!

I had an epiphany on Saturday —- well, it was more like a distraction actually —— but it worked.  Let me explain.  Memorial Day weekend involves a new tradition with my paddling group, the Otters.  Last year we travelled to the northern coast of California to do some kayaking and to take in the Kinetic Sculpture Race.  It was a fantastic trip and one we all looked forward to repeating this year.  Several reasons left me in the position of not being able to go this year.  Major disappointment.  But, circumstances are what they are and life goes on.   This brings me back to the epiphany, — er — distraction.  I made an executive decision to move my craft studio from the spare bedroom out to my sun porch. This is no small undertaking and involved moving several pieces of heavy furniture, the heaviest being an entertainment unit that I use to house plastic drawers to hold various supplies.  Said unit is made of that extremely heavy press board stuff.  I am proud to say that I got it moved, all by my lonesome, with the use of a cardboard box I broke apart to put under the thing so it would slide across bare floor and carpet. That little trick works great and if you have something really heavy to move; please try it. The hardest part was getting it up the small step from the spare bedroom into the kitchen, then down a step from kitchen to sun room.  I only smashed two fingers in the process, so I count this a success. I wasn’t about to wait for someone to stop by and help me, but I know you will if you have something heavy and bulky to move.  I also utilized a hand truck to move the bins and boxes of “stuff” rather than packing armfuls of it on an endless trek from spare bedroom to sun room.
I worked the entire afternoon moving furniture and storage bins full of tools and supplies to their new home.  Once I got all the furniture moved I arranged it to my liking and turned to those tools and supplies. I almost swooned.  Holy cats, I have a lot of stuff!!! This process will definitely take more than a day or so, and there are several things I want to accomplish along the way such as an inventory of supplies and tools, especially the ones I do not use on a regular basis.  It is so easy to forget one has something if it is out of sight.

So my new area is in some semblence of order and organized enough so that I can sit down and make a card if the mood strikes. My new studio has a fabulous view of my back yard to the west and my vegetable garden to the north and has a bit more room than my former spot-in-the-corner.  AND it is bright and cheerful.  Heaven!  Heck, even on a cloudy day enough light enters to make it a nice place to be.  I’m trying not to think about winter and how cold it may be out there, but I will work on that problem when the time comes.  In the meantime I am going to enjoy the light and warmth.

So now I have my spare bedroom back and that, too, will need to be organized.  But that’s another day.  I may keep it as a storage area or turn it into an actual spare bedroom.  Hey —— I might decide to rent it out.  Now there’s a thought . . . .  anywhoooooo, that’s it for today.  My poor mashed fingers are begging for some relief from typing.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope your weekend was one filled with fun and family and thankfulness for our servicemen and women. Happy Memorial Day!

Master Grocery List

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! Today I would like to share with you my master grocery list.  How boring, huh?  Yes, it is, however, once you have this down it makes grocery shopping a little bit easier. And I am all for easy.  The beauty of this list is that it works for ANY grocery store.  You see, the list is organized into food sections, not store sections, so even though you may go to 2 or 3 different stores, it’s pretty likely that the store you enter will have their items grouped together.  I make a dozen copies of the master list at a time and keep them in a folder. I have a little pad and pencil that is attached to my ‘fridge with a magnet and as I notice something running low, I make a note of it.  When grocery shopping day comes, my noted items are transferred to my master list.  You can highlight the things you buy on almost every grocery shopping expedition if you want. It is easy to just ignore that item if on that particular trip you don’t need to buy, say, milk, but it is always there so you don’t forget. Everything else to buy is check marked (or you could highlight these additional items if you want).  With shopping list in hand, just cruise your store’s isles looking for the group of food items on your list that corresponds to the isle you are cruising.  Easy peasy.

If you are in a particularly frugal, save-the-planet kinda mood, then once you are back home you can simply pull out your list and put a line through the items you bought that you are sure you will not be buying on the next shopping expedition; say, that two cans of coffee you bought on sale.  Or scribble through it, or use a black Magic Marker. Any method works as long as you know not to buy that item the next shopping trip.  Leave the items you will most likely buy again on the next round of shopping checked or highlighted or however you are marking them as an item to purchase. This gives you the use of the same list for a second time if you want to take frugality that far.  This sometimes works even a third time.  Ya save a lot of paper, thus saving the planet and its inhabitants.  🙂   When you’re finally done with this list after the 100th use —-
 🙂 ha, ha——- you can throw that dang list in the recycle bin and pull out a brand spanking new list.  OR just use a new one every time, justifying this waste by enjoying the wonderful sensation of having a brand new slate, so to speak.  Bet you never thought a grocery list had so much potential did you?  🙂

So here’s the master list. It didn’t copy and paste in the correct order, it is a three-column list, but you get the idea.  If you want the list in the correct format, just email me and I will send you one that looks the way it should!!!  Notice that food items are grouped together. Vegetables in one section, bulk items in another section. Meat has its own section as does dairy. Then there are canned goods, baking items, paper goods and on and on. Friendly list for any grocery store you enter because we all know they group things together at the store. If you enter one that does not, please, make a hasty retreat. We can only shop in organized stores!! 🙂 The point is, make one of these that works for you. You know what your family needs and not all master grocery lists will be the same for every family. Just remember to use it —- it will make grocery shopping a lot easier. Have a fabulous week!
Darn I wish this was in its 3-column format.  It looks so purty that way!
Fresh Fruit

o ___________

o ___________

o ___________

Fresh Veggies

o ___________

o ___________

o ___________

Bulk Items

o Nuts, wal, almnds              Notice that I shortened some of the words in order to keep them within their
                                           column. 
o Choc chips

o Flour, reg, ww, bread

o Oatmeal, reg, instant

o Popcorn

o Peanuts/pumpk seed

o Bran/wheat germ

o Baking soda

o Sugar, gran, powder

o Flax seed, grnd, whl

o Tea

o Dog treats

Herbs

o __________

o __________

Deli Items

o Salad

o Lunch meat

o Fish/shrimp

Condiments

o Mayo/Mustard

o Ketchup/relish

o Salad dressing

o Horseradish

Dairy

o Milk, Butter milk

o Eggs

o Yogurt

o Cottage cheese

o Butter/margarine

o Whip Crm H & H

o Juice

o Cheese

o Cream cheese

o Pie crust

o Cookie dough

Canned Goods

o Tomatoes

o Tomato sauce

o Beans

o Veggies

o Fruit

o Juice

o Milk

o Soup

o Broth

Baking Items

o Cake Mix

o Flour

o Sugar

o Pancake mix

o Vanilla/spices

o Pudding/Jello

o Quick breads

o Cookie mix

o Oil

o Vegetable shortening

o Spray oil

o Vinegar

Meat

o Chicken __________

o Beef _____________

o Pork_____________

Breads, Rolls, Chips

o Bread

o Buns

o Rolls

o Chips ____________

Pet Food

o Cat , dry, canned

o Dog , dry, canned

o Treats

Cleaning Items

o Borax

o Bath soap

o Hand soap

o Stain remover

o Furniture polish

o Sponges

o Deodorizers

Drinks

o Soda

o Wine

o liquor

Paper Goods

o Napkins

o Paper towels

o Toilet paper

o Kleenex

Make your own laundry detergent

I almost didn’t insert this tip after seeing the trailers for Wife Swap (no I do NOT watch that show, but they do advertise) and the words “makes her own laundry detergent” (insert a big shudder), but I digress………
Good morning! Wow, I think winter has finally hit the road and boy am I glad to see its backside.  I feared it was never going to be warm again. ……..   Again I digress.   Today I wanted to tell you about homemade laundry detergent.  Yes, you can make it yourself and the best part is — it works; and eventually the tune to “Home, Home on the Range” will disappear from your brain.  Usually.

The comparison that came with this particular recipe was made with a jumbo container of Tide at Amazon.com costing $28.99 for 96 loads. Now I usually buy my laundry soap at Costco and while I don’t remember the cost, it was not nearly that, more around $15 or so for 105 loads. It is worth the effort to make your own. First things firstly — be warned.  This stuff is slimy. And don’t worry it is supposed to be that way.  You haven’t discovered some new creature that will crawl out of your bucket and try to take over the world. 

Go to the store and buy the following items:

– 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; Choose something that you like the smell of or go for the cheapest bar you can find. You can use ANY kind from Ivory to Fels Naptha.  It matters not.

– 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle – it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and contains enough for six batches)

– 1 box of borax (Remember the 20 Mule Team?????  Oh, you’re not that old.  OK.) One box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent)

– A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters)  And no, I will not give you one of my kitty liter buckets.  Sorry.  You will have to find your own)  Even if you have to buy one (HORRORS!!) you will still be way ahead with all the money you will be saving using your slimy homemade laundry detergent.

– Three gallons of tap water

– A big spoon to stir the mixture with

– A measuring cup

– A knife or cheese grater (use the large holes if grating)

1. Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. In the meantime, while you’re waiting, use your knife or cheese grater and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water. Use the whole bar of soap and be sure to keep the heat below a boil. Once all the soap has been deposited into your hot water, stir, stir, stir until the soap is dissolved. Hey, whatcha doin’ with all that soapy water? 

2. Put 3 gallons of hot water (previously warmed up somehow.  I did mine in batches before I started the soap-in-hot water grating process) into the 5 gallon bucket and mix in the hot soapy water from step one. Stir for a bit , say one run-through of “Home Home on the Range” and then add 1 cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then just let your home brew, uh I mean laundry detergent, sit overnight to cool.

3. You are done.  It’s all over but the storing of your laundry slime.  Find a funnel and start storing this stuff in clean milk jugs or just leave it in the bucket (with a lid!!!).  I don’t like putting this stuff in jugs, but that big ol’ bucket takes up too much room in my laundry closet and besides it’s HEAVY, so into clean milk jugs it goes.  My mama never promised me things would always be easy.  Or that I would like them………  but do what works for you. One measuring cup full of this slime will be what you need to do a load of laundry – and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent, just without all the refining and additives that make it look purty. So, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 – this varies by where you shop), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 or so making it $1.25) and will do 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a load.  THREE CENTS. 

After you have washed a load of laundry with your homemade soap, hang your clothes outside to dry (or on hangers slung around your wood stove in the winter 🙂 or on a clothes rack, and we are talking more savings.  You can use your clothes dryer to fluff everything up once they are already dry if ya want. You’ve got yourself huge savings AND a pioneering spirit. You go girl!

Charlie Update

Hi!  As you know, I normally do not post on Two Dogs more than once a week, however, I just had to share Charlie’s progress.  For those of you who do not know Charlie’s story I will tell you that he is an old wire hair fox terrier that had been abused for who knows how long, and then left in someone’s backyard to die when his “people” moved.  I am the one who was blessed with caring for this sweetheart for whatever time he may have left through our local pet rescue SNIPPP (Spay & Neuter Intermountain Pets & Pet Placement).  He has been with me since the end of January, passed his vet check although he had no muscle tone and almost no meat on his bones.  He is hard of hearing and partially blind in the ear and eye on the same side of his head.  No need to speculate on that; I have done plenty of that and it helps nothing and only serves to make me mad.  Charlie was very sensitive, did not like riding in the car, very unsure of himself, and skulked away in fear if he heard a raised voice, and cowered when I raised my hand to pet him.  He has come a long way with patience and a lot of love.  He goes to work with me and Toonie Mae Hound Princess Dog of Burney most every day, takes nice little walks, and tolerates the car, but just barely.  In the 3 1/2 months I have had this marvelous guy he has slowly become accustomed to my household and has settled in.  Yes, there are still issues that we continue to work on, but yesterday I noticed for the first time that he has definitely bonded with me.  I had to go to work.  Charlie was sleeping peacefully on the back deck.  He is not a fan of the smell of acrylic nails being worked on and he never minded staying home.  Preferred it actually. Until yesterday.  I hooked Toonie Mae up to her leash and we went out the front door and were across the street and headed to the salon when I happened to look back to see Charlie looking towards us and making it obvious that he did NOT want to be excluded.  We went back and hooked him up to his leash and off to work we went.  He was thrilled to be at the salon and scootched himself all over the rug in happy abandon.  This scootching consists of head on the floor, butt in the air pushing himself around in circles.  He was a happy boy and so was I.
I have been in and out running errands and going back and forth to the salon yesterday and today and since yesterday he will not let me out of his sight.  I am so happy that he finally feels safe and secure and knows that he will always be loved here.  Some would say he is acting insecure, but I know this is not the case. I think that he knows now when we go for a walk, or a ride, that he will be coming back here where he is safe and loved.  He knows nothing but love and patience here and now feels secure enough to become a pest about going with the Tooners and me.  I thank the Lord every day for this wonderful fellow.  He is a blessing beyond measure and I just had to show you this picture of him lounging on the back deck, surveying his domain.    Thank you so much for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend.

environmentally friendly cleaners

My allergies seem to never go away and I am becoming sensitive to a lot more things, chemical smells being added to the list. Most cleaners give me a headache at best or plug up my nose, or makes my chest feel tight along with a headache. So much of this stuff is bad for the environment, too, so an all-around-better-for-both-problems solution was to make my own. Cruising the internet for home-made cleaners brought forth a bevy of sites dedicated to this subject. I haven’t tried most of them yet, but will at some point.

One that I have used for a long, long time is the dynamic duo of vinegar and baking soda. Neither are hard on the environment and both are allergy friendly. The baking soda is fantastic for scouring away stubborn crusty stuff, bathtub ring, and for use as that all-time favorite, freshening the refrigerator. I also use it to brush my teeth and with a little water added, as an under arm deodorant. I kid you not. The stuff works great for that!! If you try this, keep in mind it is not an antiperspirant; it won’t eliminate sweating, just the odor.

Paired with vinegar, baking soda makes a pretty darn good drain cleaner. Run some hot water down the drain, add some baking soda followed by vinegar and watch the fascinating chemical reaction. Don’t be alarmed at the foaming that boils forth from the drain. It is supposed to do that. When the volcano subsides, follow with some hot water.

Vinegar on it’s own is good for ridding your counter of ants and although you must wipe the counter down several times to keep them from returning, it beats using poisons and such that are bad for the environment, bad for you to breathe, and you won’t have to worry about your kids or animals getting into it. I keep a spray bottle of the stuff at the ready. Another useful treatment for keeping ants away is coffee grounds.  They don’t like the smell I guess.  If I find an area around the foundation of my house where ants are lurking, busy coming and going like they do,  I begin emptying my used coffee grounds around that area and they disappear before getting into the house.  You can actually see them getting upset and heading away. And if this happens to be in a flower bed, not to worry, coffee grounds won’t hurt unless the plants are very sensitive to acidic soil. The grounds will just decompose and add some nutrients to your soil.  Vinegar can be used as a fabric softener, too.

If you have other uses for baking soda or vinegar I would love to hear about them.  Have a fabulous week, and as always, thanks for stopping by.