Goals Update

Well hello there!  I didn’t want you to think I have forgotten about you all.  I just wanted to make a short post to let you in on a couple of things.

I have been working in my office, as you may well know.  This is the first room I picked for the make-over this year.  Holy moly did it need it!!  My goal was to get a room a month completed, but it has taken way longer than I anticipated.

My lovely husband has built shelves the entire length of one wall.  (can I get a woo hoo for having a handy hubby!?!?)  I have these painted…finally.  He needs to finish up the base of the shelves, which will actually have doors to hide some of the, not so pretty items, like files, computer paper, etc.  There is also a smaller set of shelves he is going to build.

First, we were delayed waiting on the lumber.  Now it’s just a matter of finding the time for him to work on it.  He works at our family business, plus has quite a few things on his plate here.  So it will get finished.  I just don’t know when yet.

So instead of waiting for the office to be finished before I move on, I’ve decided to start with the next room:  the boys’ bedroom.  There is two big changes happening in there.  First, it’s getting painted.  Second, we are moving our third son into that room.  Thank you, bunk beds.  They are actually excited.  For now.

I also need to decide what room to work on after the boys’ room.  I may pick an “easy” one to try to get caught up.  I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a failure not getting rooms completed to share with you.  I know they will get finished, but it’s March and I don’t have anything but a complete mess in my house to show for it!  So please stick with me, we will see results.

The other topic I wanted to touch on is my “get fit” goal.  With the exception of two weeks, I have managed to do some sort of cardio workout about 4 to 5 days a week.  While I realize this isn’t astounding, it’s improvement.  I have seen a change in how my clothes fit.  Score!

Today I added weights to my routine.  Let me just explain that I haven’t lifted weights in years.  I mean, clean the dust off the weights, years.  I feel great now, but I pray tomorrow that the soreness won’t deter me from continuing.  I also ask that my, sure-to-come, jello arms will still have the strength to lift my baby girl out of her crib.  Ahhh, the pains of getting fit.

Well there you have it.  My goals are playing out, not how I planned, but playing out nonetheless.   If you want to read more details about my two goals for this year, go here.

Are you still sticking with your goals for this year?

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Who I Am: September Edition

Summer is coming to an end.  It’s a bittersweet time of the year.  Summer is filled with so many fun activities, that at times it’s hard to see it go, but where one season ends, another begins.  Soon we will be greeted by brisk fall air and beautiful trees putting on their colorful display.

In our house, the end of the summer usually means canning season.  Which is why I am sharing this hobby with you this month!

Canning was introduced to me by my mother-in-law about 12 years ago.  Only later did I learn that both of my Grandma’s did it!  Which I found very cool!

What is canning you may wonder?  Dictionary.reference.com defines it as, “the act, process, or business of preserving cooked food by sealing in cans or jars.”  (For specific methods and guidelines, go here.)

Before I tell you why I do this, let me tell you why I don’t.  I don’t do it to save money.  At all.  There is far too much time invested in the finished product.

So, if it takes so much time, why do it?  I love it.  But if that isn’t reason enough…..

Canning lets me preserve what we grew in our garden.  What we took care of from seed to harvest, all summer.

My family appreciates it.  Let me tell you how awesome it feels to be able to use this as a reason!  Not only do they like the finished product and have actually told me, but they also like lending a hand in the process!  Anything from breaking beans, cleaning carrots, running apples through the food mill, etc.  I’m thankful that they’re thankful.  It makes your time feel well-spent.  Plus it’s a hobby, so it’s definitely a win-win.

It gives me a deep feeling of connection to the past knowing that generations of women before me did the same thing I was just doing hours ago.  Especially this year, with a bountiful harvest of nearly everything, it reminded me of how fortunate we are.  We, as a family, grow this food, because it is a way we enjoy spending time together.  I can it because I enjoy it.  It’s a hobby.  Could you imagine living, as our ancestors did, when getting through the winter depended on how much food was grown in your family garden?  Knowing in years of draught or extreme weather conditions, that food would have to be rationed to make sure there was enough to put meals on the table until the next year?  The worries I have dull in comparison.  Definitely another reason to be grateful!

I’m sure if I thought hard enough, I could come up with many more reasons, but for me, the fact that I enjoy it, is enough.

So what do I can?  Everything from jams and jellies, to salsa, spaghetti sauce, to green beans and carrots.  I did get to try something new this year, and that was canning peaches and nectarines.  Let me just explain that I am NOT a fan of either.  The rest of the family is, though.

With the goal of making my hubby and kiddos a treat, to the market I went.  I came home with a half of a bushel each of peaches and nectarines.

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Ok, so I will give it to the peaches, they are pretty photogenic!  Now to try out some recipes.

I made some Peach Amaretto Jam.  It smells amazing!  And good news?  Tastes just as good!

I also tried my hand at Nectarine Jam.  It’s amazing how it can go from this

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To this

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Tasty and pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also tried canning them both in a very light syrup, which was recommended to preserve texture, otherwise I would have used just water.  I hope they taste as good as they look!

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If you can, I’d love to hear what you’ve done this year!  Just leave a comment please!

Here are past months’ editions, in case you missed out:

Who I Am:  February Edition

Who I Am:  March Edition

Who I Am:  April Edition

Who I Am:  May Edition

Who I Am:  June Edition

Who I Am:  July Edition

Who I Am:  August Edition

There are only a few months left in this series, so if there is anything you’d like to learn about me, please let me know!  I just may use it for an upcoming edition!

Thanks for stopping by!    ~Kim

10 Laundry Tips

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Laundry.  It’s a chore as old as time.  Probably.

I don’t mind laundry much.  Really, I don’t. Which is a good thing, with four little ones underfoot and a husband with a messy, dusty  job, I sure have my fair share of it!  With a lot of dirty laundry to tend to, I’ve learned some things that I would like to share with you.  I figured the easiest way to do this is to make a list.  So here it goes…..

Kim’s Laundry Tips

1. Anything with a stain on it should not be put in the dryer for any reason.  It will only set the stain making it next to impossible to remove!  Which leads me to….#2

2. Make sure you have a dependable pre-treatment solution.  Our common stains include:  grass, dirt, grease, food, baby food, spit-up and, my personal favorite, the mystery stain.  Thankfully, when my 9-year-old was a baby, I discovered De-Solv-It.  It is all natural & organic!  This stuff is A-Mazing!  I once removed fluorescent orange spray paint from my husbands work clothes using this stuff!  Boy did I feel like a miracle worker!  I don’t use the manufacturer’s “laundry” instructions, though.  I just spray a very, very light mist on the stain and toss in the washer.  I buy this in the 4 liter container and fill my own spray bottle that I picked up at a local discount store.  Remember a little goes a long way!

3.  Stubborn stain solution:  Clothesline + dew + sun = no stain!  Now you probably think I’m crazy.  My sister-in-law gave me this tip once, and I thought she was too, until I tried it!  If you have a stain on a piece of clothing, hang it outside in the evening and don’t check it until the next evening.  Something about the dew and the sun causes the stain to fade.  It may take a day or two, but it does work!  FYI – Probably not ideal for dark clothing.

4.  Laundry soap.  I make my own and am super happy with the results.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the results I was getting from the name brand detergent I used, just not the price.

It calls for three ingredients: Fels-Naptha (bar soap), 20 Mule Team Borax, and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.  All found in the cleaning aisle (normally).  It is all in a 1:1:1 ration.

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1 bar Fels-Naptha

1 cup Borax

1 cup Washing Soda.

I mix mine in the food processor.  I’ve heard that it doesn’t leave a residue or smell, but I have an old, old one that I use just for my soap just in case!

First put the chopping blade inside the bowl, then add the borax and soda.

Next place the shredding blade on top so that you can shred the bar soap into the remaining mixture already in the bowl.  This processes the soap together into a powder like consistency.  Let it run until it’s the consistency you like, but not too long or it can become gummy.  Mine looks like this:

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I have a HE washer and can add it directly into the drawer where the detergent goes.  It dissolves perfectly & is low suds.

Use 1 Tbsp for regular loads, 2 Tbsp for heavily soiled or large loads.  You can always alter the amount depending on your needs.  Remember to store it in an air-tight container!

5.  Use store-bought fabric softener sparingly.  It is not necessary to use it every time you wash, but maybe every other time, or even once a month.  A residue can build up in your clothes.  I am currently experimenting with using vinegar as a softener.  I will let you know my results (and would love to hear if you use it also!)

6.  Use a clothes line.  If at all possible use it!  It dries your clothes so nicely, and it gives them that fresh clean smell!  I especially love hanging out sheets.  It can also save you a few cents by not running your dryer.  Not a get rich idea, but every little bit helps.  I read once that it can save you about 25-50 cents a load depending on your dryer!  Plus it makes working in my smallish laundry room a little more bearable, since no dryer running means it stays cooler!

7.  Fold it as you dry it.  Don’t throw clean, dry clothes in a basket, unfolded.  If you go ahead and fold it, you will be more likely to put it away, and prevent a mountain of clean, soon-to-be wrinkly clothes from growing.

8.  Delegate!  If they are old enough to put their clothes away, have them do so.  I bought small, square laundry baskets that are not too cumbersome for my kids to carry.  This enables them to put their own clothes away.  Assigning small tasks based on age and skill level teaches children responsibility.  Added bonus, it lessens your work load opening up more time for fun activities with the family!

9.  Don’t have “laundry day.”  Do a load or maybe two a day, depending on your family needs.  Keeping the daily workload small gives you more time to do it properly, getting it folded and put away before you are lost in that mountain of clothes.  My schedule is something like this:  Monday: bath towels, sheets; Tuesday: boys clothes; Wednesday: my & my hubby’s clothes; Thursday: dish towels, cleaning rags; Friday, Saturday & Sunday: only as needed.  My schedule requires about 2 load each of these days, which works perfectly for me!  Just experiment with the right amount of loads per day that works for you!

10.  Hampers.  Get them.  Now.   When I was growing up the only hamper in our house was in the bathroom, which was down the hall from my room.  Dirty clothes rarely found its way there.  In my own home, we have a hamper in each bedroom’s closet plus one in each full bathroom.  I taught my kids early to put dirty clothes in there and I rarely have to remind them.  It has become a habit.  Try it, I hope it works for you, like it has for me!

Well there you have it.  My 10 laundry tips.  I hope you found something new you’d like to try.  It just may make the chore a little easier.  Maybe even enjoyable.

I love trying new things, so if you have any tips you’d like to share, please do!

For an alternative, but similar homemade soap recipe, please visit my friend at The happy, homeschooling, Hoosier, housewife.  Tell her I sent you!

I better go, I have some laundry to do 😉  Have a great day!