I need a stale cigarette STAT

Those were literally the first words out my mouth to my in-laws. I know they knew Ryan married a classy lady, they just didn’t know how classy.

It all started with their anniversary present. 40 years! Can I get a what-what?! I would’ve loved to throw them a party like we did for my parents (see here), but I didn’t think it’d be feasible. So if we couldn’t bring them to a party, why not bring the party to them? Enter our Party in a Box. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
In a box full of streamers and feathers we stacked a series of gifts. The feathers were from Ruthie’s boas that I’ve been picking up all over the house and saving in a plastic bag. I knew they’d come in handy one day.  I guess I figured I’d make myself a new swimsuit for the summer…

il_570xN.188124407[1]

 (source)

but the box will do instead. The pool patrons thank you, in-laws.

First in the party box were our toasts (aka letters).
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Then the confetti from Ruthie:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The party-goers:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI sent out postcards to their friends and family to write a note and they sent them back to me so I could send them all at once. There was a good turn out to the party! I’d say 40+ sent the card back.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I think I was a stalker in my past life, because I had no qualms contacting their friends I’d never met and asking for addresses. Where was this confidence in 7th grade talking to boys? Strike that, in college talking to boys. I guess it’d be weird asking for their addresses though. “Hey, aren’t you in my Psych 101 class? Yeah, so what’s your address?”

But this is where things turned. For the worse, if you asked Ryan. For the better, if you asked me.

Ah, the After Party.

For my in-laws.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYeah, I went for it.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI blatantly disregarded the phallic shape of the bottle and giggly wrapped the presents. Giggling mostly because of Ryan’s mortification. In discussing anything even remotely sexual with parents in general, he said “Carrie, guys are visual, okay? Girls are disgusting.”

But those cigarettes. I’ve hung onto that pack for two years now. They were originally during a first-time dinner date with a girl I’d met at a Hip Mamas meet-up and her husband. Did you catch that? It was basically our first time meeting them, and I laid out cigarettes next to our salad plates. It was an experiment based on a chapter from the Emily Post of Etiquette book. I never expected the turn it took. Wanna read it? Click here.

The leftover pack of cigs have been moved from mobile home to townhome to house and miraculously none were broken. Or smoked. How one was not placed in my hand after my 2 hour delivery of Annie, I have no clue. I could’ve just hung out in the birthing pool with a cigarette and bottle of Cristal while everyone bustled around me that first hour afterwards.

The night before we headed back to visit his parents, Ryan went to a fashion show to support his friend from KC who was showing his collection. His texts that night cracked me up. He said he wish he’d had a friend with him who’d actually laugh at what was coming down the runway. Because everyone took it way too seriously.

You know, when a girl walked down holding a shelving unit around her face.

cupboard
Or wearing a doile around her head.doile

My friend, Jesyka, said, “You don’t question fashion, Carolyn. I will be wearing a doile on my face this spring.” She should’ve gone with Ryan.

After the show, he met up with his friend Christian (from ChristianMicaheal) who incidentally also does historical reeanctments, one of which we visited several years ago.  At some point Ryan offered up our home for them to stay at that weekend since we’d be out of town. No big deal, I’d have done the same thing.

But when did he tell me this info? The day we were to leave for Wichita and only after I’d convinced myself to just leave the house a wreck because who cares, it’ll be a mess as soon as we walk back in the house. For some reason, I have to leave the house immaculate so that we can walk in the door to a clean home. Not this time though. It was a busy week working on a trip for my dad and I wasn’t in the mood to clean.

After hearing the news that our little home might be hosting some guests, I then had to go in overdrive to make every room look decent. Ruth watched about 12 hours of Barney and who knows where Annie was. By the time Ryan got home, I was frazzled, unkempt, and tired of hearing “I’m hungry” all day long. We got into our van and drove an hour longer to get to Wichita because one had to pee and then the other had to eat and the other had pee and the other had a blowout and then our van only drives 65 at the most and I couldn’t sleep because I have this asinine idea that if I fall asleep so will the driver and I was already tired from Annie getting up in the night and and and and. You people with young kids get it.

I was done.

And then we pulled up, was thanked heartily for our gift and I remembered.

The cigarettes.

“Don’t judge me, I need a cigarette now.” Julie must have seen a look in my eye because she ran to her bedroom and brought them out. I took one, went onto their back deck, stared into the dark acreage with the wind in my hair, and listened to… nothing. Nothing except me smoking that thing like it was made of gold. I closed my eyes and just inhaled. It was kinda like Clark Griswold’s wife, but more peaceful.

griswold

I feel like I should now start a DARE program so Ruthie and Annie don’t think I’m advocating it, but dang. It was darn near perfect that night.

Thank you ornery After Party gift.

The rest of the weekend was really nice too. That night we stayed up until after midnight talking and tried sleeping in the next day. Actually, now that I think about it, I did! 8:30! Boo-yah. We lounged around some more until we met up with Ryan’s grandma.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
I wish Ruth would feel comfortable at their place. I mean, don’t be a wallflower, jeez. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShe was so busy. I think she ran circles around the kitchen and living room for 3 hours straight.

Then she ran circles around the couch.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
They were both wore out and took good naps before going out to eat and then onto the nursing home.

I know I’m going to eat these words, but I’m never afraid taking Ruth out to eat. She normally does really well, probably because food is involved. And that night was no exception. The stars were all aligned for everyone. Dinner went well. Annie ate, then nursed right before going in to see his grandma. No one was fussing, everyone was happy.

We waited in the lobby for her to come out and when she did, she first saw Julie, then me, then Annie and she almost started crying. Later she would say, “I hope you didn’t get a photo of me going crazy. I was just so happy.”

mamawsecuredownload[2]

His grandma (“maw-maw”) cracks me up. She asked if she could take ruthie back to pick out a stuffed animal from her closet. When they returned Ruth was carrying a huge panda bear, bigger than her almost. One time Ryan walked with her down the hallway because she wanted to show off Ruth, and he said she saw someone she wanted to talk to and rammed her scooter into his, almost pushing him backwards down the hall. Julie said she had to have her scooter taken away at one point because she was being too aggressive with it. Along the side you could see skid marks from who knows how many victims.

Ah, that made me smile. She’s still spunky as ever, even in her 90s.

It was a good visit and solidified my love of elderly people. My mom is thinking of volunteering at a retirement/nursing home. I might copy her and do the same. I just want to love on all these people and hear their stories!

The next morning we had a really good bible study and service around the dining room table. When I went on and on about fighting the same shortcomings every single day, Randy hit me with this verse:

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning
-Lamentations 3:22-23

They are new every morning. And that changed my outlook. God is good. God is love. He gives me grace every day. And I’m so thankful.

Afterwards we hopped back in the van to head home. The sun was shining, the girls were happy. It was just a 180 from the Friday before. Plus, we had a friend come along!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShady! The girls are in heaven.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Shady is not. She’s exhausted. I think she’s used to sleeping all day and ain’t none of that is happening around these parts. Trust me, I’ve tried.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
In other news: SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
…and on that note, I bid you adieu.

The Games We Play

It’s nice to have a mother-in-law that’s also a preschool teacher. She brings you things that either she’s made or photocopied from her curriculum. I’ve yelled at her to follow her dream to retire and make literacy-based curriculum, she’s so creative! It also makes me feel good to know she thinks reading is one of the best ways to teach, since I fall back on books any chance I can. Mostly for the snuggles, though.

So when things spiral to the point that Ruth spends her evenings slaving away on the computer:
DSC_7256
I break out the homemade toys from Jama.

First up is the Feely Cup Thingamaroo. It’s just a plastic cup with a sock around it, filled with various things… soft, hard, round, square, etc.
DSC_7254Ruth isn’t to the point where I can ask her to pick out the soft ball, so we just discuss whatever comes out. DSC_7252And then it’s my turn to be creative…DSC_7259Uh, yeah. How about I just dump a bunch of colored gem stone thingies on a tray and let you scoop them up. Ta da!!!DSC_7262I don’t know what it taught her besides the fact that Walmart sells some hard to maneuver shovels, but this did also kill the time it took for Ryan to cook dinner.

Now back to Jama’s.

Her eye-spy game is still a hit. Ruth pulls it out every so often and goes back to find the camera.

DSC_7223

DSC_7224

Now back to my mine.

What? Colored gem stone things again? This time in WATER?

Ruth never saw that twist coming.

DSC_7296

Neither did I, actually. In fact, I couldn’t see much of anything with this big ole belly in the way.DSC_7297So we go back to Jama’s creations where she actually learns something. You may remember her little flannelgram dress-up doll from a while back. Well, a Pete The Cat has been made as well. Mamas – go buy these books, they crack me up!

One book is all about his buttons, so she included some buttons to place on the cat.

DSC_7302DSC_7305
I think Ruthie thought she was bedazzeling his shirt, which I fully approved of.DSC_7309

And of course Jama didn’t leave out his belly button, only the climax of the entire story!DSC_7308
The second book was about his shoes, so several pairs were included as well. Apparently we’re still trying to work out where shoes go on the body.DSC_7312
And I’ve been trying to get Ruthie to recognize numbers out of order, by asking her to place buttons on them randomly. It’s a hit or miss. I probably asked her to put this button on 3. She was more concerned with touching her nipple, I think. And of course, nipple is one of the words that comes out of her mouth perfectly. Lovely.DSC_7313
Anyway, don’t you think Jama should retire and follow this passion? I do. Or at least set up a blog and help us come up with ideas.

Now where did those gem stones go….

Great Grandparents

Before I assault you with a bazillion photos, wanted to see if you’ve been over to my other blog: The Mobile-Homemaker? It’s a chronicle of our journey to becoming debt free, while learning new (and old) homemaking skills. Go check it out!

—————————————

R is lucky to have 3 of his 4 grandparents still with us. And during our visit to Kansas, we made our rounds to see them.

It was wonderful.

First, we visited V. She is a crackerjack, and makes me literally laugh out loud. As soon as she was wheeled out, it was one hello to us and then all about Ruthie.

V was enthralled with Ruth’s eyebrows and asked her if mama was painting them on.

I love asking his grandparents about their past. For instance, the Dust Bowl. V had been living in Oklahoma when it hit. She was around 11 or 12 and remembers having to go to sleep with wet rags over her mouth and waking up to a line of dust on her face.

They moved to Arkansas Ozarks soon after because her mother had lived in the Missouri Ozarks and loved the area.


She also remembers roller skating down to the grocery store for her mother.


R would tell me stories about her superstitions growing up. Like, if they were walking together and came upon a pole, they could not let the pole split their path. If they did, she would make him come back around it and walk with her on the side. So, being ornery, he would purposefully run around it to make her come after him.


V will be 90 in June. When R asked her what will she do for her birthday, she said without a beat “Oh probably go out on the town.” So fun.

While we were chatting, some visitors brought valentines day notes for everyone. Ruth wanted to eat it.


Along with her eyebrows, V also loved Ruthie’s hands. She has such pretty hands. Turning to me to see if they take after mine, Let me look at your hands.  Hmmm.. Let me see your hands, R. Hmmm…

I guess neither of ours made the cut.


But hers did. Can’t wait to see her again.

After our visit, we headed straight to his other grandparents. They still live in their 1950s home, full of interesting things collected throughout the years. I’m sure she is sick of me asking for a tour every time we visit. I can’t help it. Some areas are like a time capsule.

Ruth was at first aloof.


But immediately warmed up.

Family portrait time!

Look at this photo and tell me this has any of me in her. Sigh. As a friend of mine said, who’s daughter is also an exact copy of her husband, “I did carry you for 10 months. You could have had at least a little of me in you.”


We then went into the dining room for some cookies and convo. This used to be their breezeway, where R’s mom and her siblings would go roller skating.

An old highchair was pulled out and Ruth was strapped in.

Her great-grandad gave her a spoon to play with…

But Ruth only wanted to eat it. Of course. I guess that’s where I fit into her personality. Whatever.

After eating too many candies, the girls went downstairs because great-grandma had a toy whipped up for Miss Ruth.

Made out of an old box and some rope, just throw padding in the bottom and you have yourself an indoor sled! She took a tour of the basement…

And then made her way upstairs where R was also talking about the Dust Bowl with his grandad.

I guess after the major part of the Dust Bowl had ended, he and some friends went pheasant hunting.  They would climb hills of dust that rose over fences and smothered homesteads. The dust-hills were so thick you could walk on it and they would do so. Over those fences and through the windows of those homesteads, out the other side.

It makes you wonder if some of those rolling hills you see are due to the Bowl. And what’s buried under them?

I love these stories and visiting these grandparents of R. But it makes me miss my own. I wish Ruth could have met them.

She will one day. That gives me comfort.

A Cabin, Snowman Family, and Plastic Surgery?

Now onto some of my favorite parts of Christmas with the in-laws:

1. Misty mornings on the lake. One of R’s coworkers graciously let us use her family’s cabin for the weekend. It was more than we could have asked for. You just can’t beat this view.

2. Waking up to our Christmas Canoe filled with presents!

3. FIL preparing his lesson on Jesus’ birth for our Christmas morning church service together. We decided to stay in and break bread with just the family, which resulted in an intimate, lovely experience. I was most worried about singing in front of everyone, but that melted away with the first verse. I’m seriously considering this becoming a Christmas tradition for my little family.

4. Getting our family portrait made. This one was my favorite. Ruth cracks me up.

5. And the pièce de résistance: making snowmen. Can you tell she’s a preschool teacher? They are the only ones that can explain things to me in ways I’ll understand. Plus, she allows for nap time. The only weird part is when she stands outside the bathroom door waiting to make sure I wiped from front to back.

I was a wee bit nervous making crafts with these two because creativity oozes out of their every pore. Visual arts are not my thing. I can hardly play hangman without someone asking what exactly is being hanged. What is that? A walrus? No, a person. Then why are there tusks coming out of the face. Those are the arms. You lose.

What. I can’t take critiques well.

So I couldn’t help squealing at R’s ‘professor with a combover’ creation. Complete with a bow-tie.

I tried hiding my recreations of our family, but alas, they were found.

We staged a scene from our life:

R comes home, eyes red with anger from something that annoyed him at work, and vents to his wife, who apparently has been cast in the next season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and is recovering from the obligatory facial plastic surgery. You know, the kind where the nose creates those weird tight wrinkles when they smile? I guess I just don’t understand plastic surgery (and Botox) for vanity’s sake. Reconstruction surgery is one thing. But plastic surgery? I mean, why not spend your money on something more substantial, like bulk Cheese Puffs from Sam’s Club. Now that I’ll firmly stand behind.

Back to the scene:

Wife tries to roll her bandaged, but unwrinkley eyes and hears her baby crying, happy for an excuse to escape the onslaught of frustration.

Darling, the baby is hungry. Let me get her.

(You can tell this is a fictional scene as I used a term of endearment.)

Okay, now go on with your story, honey, while I nurse Ruthie.

End Scene.

And just so you know, R added the cradle cap on little Ruth.

Gotta keep it lifelike, you know.

——–

P.S. An update on diapers. When she was born, we had been given some disposables diapers for her current size & weight. So I used this long weekend as an opportunity to use them. After starting her on cloth at six weeks, I was curious to try them again.

The verdict? I was very happy to get back to my cloth. Despite what you may think, it certainly wasn’t any easier using disposables. They were obviously thinner, which was nice when putting on her tights. I don’t know if the tights would have made it over her bulky cloth ones. However, there was just a different feel about them. I can’t explain it. My friend, J, had mentioned that there is a certain smell to disposables that you don’t notice unless you’re away from them. I was somewhat skeptical, but now know exactly what she means. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not horrible, but it just smells… well, you know how the hospital or doctor’s room smells? That rubber glove kinda overly sterilized sort of stench? I picked up on it right away. I know you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m serious and not just touting the cloth diaper horn to make me feel better. I did like that I didn’t have to think about the snaps at 3am, but that can be remedied by using velcro only for night changes.

I’m just saying that I feel good about my choice in going cloth. I’m not as stressed out about it as I thought I’d be and think they’re just as easy as disposables. Dollars saved in this department is also a big bonus as R and I discuss our 2012 financial goals. One less necessity to buy. Plus, it saves room in the budget for more cheese puffs. And that’s always a good thing.

Hairy and the Hendersons

What do you get when you combine hair, sugar, and Moscoto wine? Duh, spa night. Particularly with girlfriends you haven’t seen in what feels like forever.

FOR-ev-er. For-EV-er.

Nevermind, Sandlot reference. There are some words that I can’t say without thinking of a movie/show. Like I’ve mentioned before, ‘fickle’ (I Love Lucy with Bill Harden – I’m fickle?); ‘Occurs’ (The Last of the Mohicans – No matter what occurs, I WILL find you.); and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins – …even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious). That last one comes up quite a bit, believe it or not.

Anyway, so L & A came down for the weekend. Upon arrival, R uncorked a couple bottles of wine and then immediately went to bed….leaving us in the living room to talk until, wait for it, 5 o’clock in the morning. Look out kids – Mama’s gettin’ caraaaazy up in he-uh!

I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late. Oh, wait, yes I can.. the first week with Ruthie. This time around was infinitely better, though. The hours flew by, discussing jobs, babies, memories…

The next day we ate breakfast, chit-chatted for a few more hours and then drove to Fayetteville to pick up our 5K race packets that we never ended up going to. We had priorities: sleep.

When we returned…

A teeny spa area had been set up. I looked at R and smiled.

He follows directions well! [For anyone who cares about how sexy R and my conversations are, we spent a good portion of this morning discussing when to use ‘good’ and ‘well’. We decided that the state of being is good, and doing a task is well. Please correct me if there are any exceptions, my fellow grammar freaks.]

So, yes, he follow directions well.

because I left him details on how to set it up. Yes, I am that cool. I even erased one rectangle because it was not proportionate to the coffee table. How R snagged such a catch as me, we’ll never know.

The excitement of seeing the table was short-lived, because we were exhausted. So we took a nap. I came out only when I heard hooting owls in the living room. A had found some background spa music. I mean, when aren’t owls relaxing?

So I ran out there and yelled, bootcamp style, at them to get in relaxed positions. NOW!

Nothing like stressing someone out beforehand. But L happily obliged with the foot soak.

And A, who I’m sure is ecstatic about this photo, started in on her toenails.

I used my almond meal/honey/jojoba oil scrub (Told ya I was gray)…

…and then it got serious, folks. I’d been wanting to try a sugar wax recipe I saw on youtube. This was a big deal to me. Because even though I have a high pain tolerance (for the most part), waxing is my achilles’ heel. The last time I had my legs done, I was living in Spain and spent the majority of the time trying to yell in spanish that waxing is akin to corsets and will be written about in future history books on how women torture themselves for beauty.

I gave up after trying to think of the word  for ‘waxing’ and just started whimpering. Big baby.

This would be my redemption.

Before the girls came down, I made a couple batches of wax. R was impressed and said that was unlike me. I said Thank You without realizing it really wasn’t much of a compliment.

Here’s the recipe. Get ready, because it’s extremely difficult:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Have I lost you yet?

Mix it all together and then throw into a pot until boiling.

Oh yeah, if possible, have a candy thermometer handy. Would you know that I had just picked that bad boy up at an estate sale a couple weeks prior? And R says I only bring home junk. Hmph.

After you get it to a boil, reduce the heat to the low.

I don’t know what ‘low’ looks like on a gas stove, but this is what my flame looked like.

Here’s where the trickiest part begins. You want the mixture to be slightly thicker than honey and a dark amber color. But watch out! It will literally turn to candy if you let it cook for too long.

Here it is light.

Darker.

More Darker. The temp on the thermometer should be between 240 – 260.

The first batch I made was left on until close to 260. The second was taken off around 240 and they both work fine.

In fact, it worked great. So well in fact, that I made loud exclamations on each pull of the cloth.

Okay, I’ll admit. I did two strips on my leg and then was dunzo. Both A & L were champs and did several areas.

I was intending on waxing the rest of my legs at my parents’ house and each night would find a new excuse… usually a word that started with HG and ended with TV bailed me out. When we got home yesterday, I took a look at my now extremely scary-looking legs and by golly, those two strips were still bare after a full week! That, coupled with R’s observation of how whiney I was: “Did A & L even do the waxing because they didn’t make any noise,” I am now finished with both lower legs.

I don’t know why everyone made such a big deal out of it.

You big babies.

Ivory

I mentioned a while back that I had tweaked my laundry detergent recipe to make it even cheaper.

Well, here goes.

The actual recipe is so easy to remember, it’s the identification of each powder that was difficult for me. Maybe because it took me 2 years before labeling each of the jars? I’m pretty much a genius when it comes to those things.

It’s just 2 to 1 parts, soap to other ingredients.  So if you do 1 cup soap, throw in 1/2 cup Borax, Washing Soda, & OxyClean. Once mixed, use 2 tbls per load.

The soap is what changed. You can’t buy soap flakes off the shelf anymore (which I think is a conspiracy, but I think everything is a conspiracy right now. I can’t go for a jog 9 mos pregnant? Conspiracy. I can’t make it through the night without eating a meal at 2am? Conspiracy.) So I’ve had to buy the flakes either off ebay or through a distribution center based in Michigan that imports them from England. Tell me how this is cost-effective.

Then I discovered that Ivory soap is the most similar to boxed soap flakes due to it being almost (sigh) made out of 100% vegetable oil.

Hey, not to change the subject, but see those flowers on the coffee table?

My sister-in-law picked those from her garden for me! I love what fresh flowers does to a room: instant class.

And looking at our coffee table, we need that. The basket on the left (which I think is a rice steamer, actually) is really our junk drawer, believe it or not. In front of everyone. You walk in – bam! Junk. That’s how we roll, folks.

The chest we bought randomly on our way home from Nebraska one year. We squeezed it into R’s Honda Civic and scraped the ground all the way back.

The year was unknown, but when we had it re-stained, the guy went on and on about the top piece. It was a single piece of wood indicating that it came from a tree that wide. Really old, he said. I’d take it on Antiques Roadshow, but I know they’d yell at me for re-staining it. I can just hear them, “I really wish the original patina were still on it.” And then my heart would break because I do want the Roadshow folks to be my friends. Nevermind the worth, just be proud of how well I’ve taken care of something.

Ah, well. We love the dark color.

It’s where we house our blankets and sleeping bags for now. Probably a future junk drawer waiting to happen, though.

But back to the exciting stuff: Ivory soap. No shipping costs and occasionally I get a coupon in the paper for it. Score!

I really need a good food processor. Instead, I diced up the soap curls as small as possible.

Then stored  it until ready to use!

I diced up 3 bars worth of soap and it almost reached the top of the jar. Good deal.

The ingredients I buy more frequently than others is a) soap and b) washing soda. That you can buy on the shelf. The borax and Oxyclean just keeps going and going.

I’ve never done the cost breakdown on it all, I really should. I’ll just approximate from what I have.  I buy washing soda about once a year ($3.00), soap once a year ($15.00 for the imported soap flakes withOUT shipping. $4.00 for 8 bars of Ivory soap, coupon used), Borax once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($3.00), and Oxyclean once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($18 for 14lb box from Sam’s Club. It was difficult to justify spending that much money up front, but look how long it has lasted!)

So, with the imported flakes I would spend around $28.50 a year. Probably less than that, because I’m still using the Borax & Oxyclean from original purchase. With Ivory soap I’ve cut it to $17.50. We’ll see how this changes with a little one and more laundry loads.

I really just like having all the ingredients on hand. I don’t have to time my run to the store with how many loads I have left in the bottle. I can just whip up a new batch whenever needed.

And it does give you an excuse to buy a vintage tin for storage – Hurray!

Have a great weekend!

Stocked up

Who else was in absolute weather heaven this weekend? My energy level sky-rocketed, especially after nearly having a tea party with a monstrous garden spider. It didn’t even have clotted cream ready to serve, which is what really caused all the drama, but more on that later.

We had early breakfasts and back-to-back days of Spades-playing with family. It was relaxing, yet interactive. Plus, R was off a whole extra day and I do enjoy his silly company. Even truer now that we are entering the twilight phase of being alone together.

But before I get into all of that, let me share my latest “Why haven’t I been doing this all along?” experiment.

A friend posted on FB that she made some homemade chicken stock. I bullied her into writing about it, because God forbid I go a day without yelling at someone to do something for me.

She obliged and here’s her blog post on how to make chicken or beef stock from scratch. Sigh, she makes everything seem so easy, so I’ve put it off knowing it must be harder than it looked.

Then I found a great deal on whole chickens at the supermarket and resigned myself to try it.

So this is my teeny, tiny batch from it! And like I’d been thinking all along, it was really easy.

Next time I need to add more water, but for my first rodeo, I was pretty proud.

The fat was scraped off from the top leaving this jelly-like stock underneath.

And right into the freezer it went. Snuggling up next to the big batch of stew that’s ready to be defrosted for baby’s Birthing Day. You can feed stew to a newborn, right?

Settle. I know you can’t feed that until at least 3 months in.

Have a great shortened week!

Vinegar, Vinegar Everywhere..Not a Drop to Drink

I’ve decided I don’t like choices. They overwhelm me. We’ve already scaled down on our kitchen appliances because of this. I mean, do I really need a cooking gadget for every. little. thing? It bugs me.

So when I started the saga of cleaning the bathrooms (horror of horrors), I looked under the sink to see what we had.

***Warning*** Graphic/Messy content below

Oh, just a bazillion different choices in there. Half of them we’ve only used once or twice and then bought something new because we forgot we had it.

How much money do you think is under there too? And yeah, yeah, yeah… the environment and all that jazz.

But for me, it’s the decision-making process that gets me down. I’d like to open up the cabinet and have one bottle staring at me.

So, what’s next?

Well, you buy about a swimming pool’s amount of vinegar. And then stare at it for a couple days wondering why you’ve done so.

Apart from throwing a bit into the wash every time you get that weird smelly load and need to rewash it, what’s the use?

Oh geez, well you can google “uses for vinegar” and a plethora of lists are made available to you. Vinegar has become my new love!

So I decided to make homemade cleaner that can be used on practically everything. Happiness.

Next step was to make rags. I found an old freebie 5K t-shirt that has seen better days and tore it up.

Later, R confessed that he really liked how that shirt fit him. Whoops. I offered to stitch it up a la his blue shirt written about here.

He politely declined.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp borax (I already have this on hand as I make my own washing detergent. See that incredibly short blog post here. I’m going to do a new post on it, though, as I found a way to make it even more inexpensive.)
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 cups hot water

Add the baking soda, borax, and vinegar in the spray bottle. Then slowly add 4 cups hot water to dissolve all the ingredients.

How easy is that?

Then, use it to clean up all of the ingredients you spilt on the table.

Anyone want some of our leftover cleaners?

 

Making Make-Up

Before I write about the throwdown between two restaurants undertaken by a friend and I, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bulge (her bulge from pregnancy and my bulge from that third helping), I thought I’d first talk about some make-up I made.

The recipe called for:

  • 1 ounce beeswax
  • 4.5 ounces jojoba oil
  • 4-5 tsp mineral mica

When looking for the color of mica to use, I was a bit overwhelmed. I’d like to eventually make a simple foundation to wear daily as opposed to the schlack I currently use. What’s in that store bought stuff anyway? And why do I love it so? I don’t know, but I do. So I ended up choosing a nude shade.

This recipe can also be used for chapstick and so I picked out a berry-colored mica.

First, you melt the beeswax.

I was home alone that day, and so pulled out a Native-American sushi dish to keep me company. There’s a grocery store in town that sells the most random things. They were also selling canisters with old photos of cowboys cooking alongside a chuck wagon. And yes, I bought all of them.

Don’t know what it is about them, but I have a tendency to buy old photos in whatever capacity they’re presented to me. They’re just… timeless. To think that this guy was breathing when it was originally taken. I like having those moments of life surrounding me, even though they’re long gone.

But if I’m honest with ya, I really only bought these because I have a thing for those chiefs. Prairie fever, if you will.

Watch the beeswax melt until they look like a pair of eyes. This bee apparently had a lazy eye from the looks of the melting.

Who, in their right mind, would want a photo of themselves on a serving dish 100 years from now. I feel sorry for this guy. Do I need to stipulate that in a will or something? “In case of mass-marketing of my face, please use image attached.”

Because you know this is the photo they’d choose otherwise.

Sigh.

Can you imagine serving chicken piccata on that scary face? It’d at least help people stick to their diet, that’s for sure.

Okay, back to the make-up. Pour in the jojoba oil.

It will cause the beeswax to seize up a bit, so just continue stirring until it’s all nicely melted again.

And, lastly, dump in the mica. I’d recommend keeping it on the heat until pouring into the tubes, because the beeswax does solidify quickly.

This recipe made about 12 normal-sized tubes of chapstick (which I also use as blush, since it’s tinted). The bigger tubes in the first photo were used for the brownish mica and are what I’m currently calling “bronzer”.

I’m not yet ready to use it only as a foundation. My umbilical cord to thick, plastered war paint has not been severed. One day, though, I will break free. To know that only three ingredients are on my face at any given time sounds really lovely. Doesn’t it?

We’re off to picnic amongst hoop dresses and war uniforms today. Hope the weather holds out.

Until next time!

Eat your heart out, Cleopatra

Since I had started making my own soap, I’d also been thinking of expanding the home-ec project into other areas of skin care. Namely: make-up, face wash, and moisturizer. My 8th grade science teacher kept coming back to me, “Skin is your largest organ. Skin is your largest organ, Carolyn. CAROLYN!” ..at which point I would wipe away drool and immediately ask my neighbor for some CornNuts.

What.

I’m hungry when waking up from a nap.

Luckily R agreed that this was important, as there was going to be an initial cost. More than I thought, in fact. But after crunching some numbers, the total amount of product easily exceeds what we would get pre-packaged at the store for the same amount, and with higher quality ingredients.

First up is the almond meal facial scrub recipe I found:

  • 4 tbls almond meal
  • 1 tsp jojoba oil
  • 2 tbls honey

That’s it.

There’s something so intoxicating about putting honey on my skin. It’s like I’m channeling Cleopatra, who used honey on her entire body.

Hell, I’d even settle for Elizabeth Taylor’s skin at this point. After she married Richard Burton.

The second time.

I tripled this recipe so as not to have to make it every other day and will admit that it’s not the easiest to apply. Honestly, it’s downright messy.

But it did take the 7 layers of foundation off without a hitch and my skin doesn’t even feel dry. In fact, it’s not oily either.

So far so good. We’ll see about the homemade foundation, though. I’m predicting that I’ll soon be asked to star in the sequel to Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Stay tuned.

Homemade Laundry Soap

I’ve started making my own laundry soap.
I’ve also ordered tools online to make my own bath & dish soap, so this is my baby step toward that direction.
To be honest, I started making this because it gave me an excuse to go find antique jars in which to store the powders.
If you would like the recipe for this, please go to a blog I read called Down to Earth (listed to the right), but I will give you the link here.