Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend Adventures

We had a HUGE yard sale on Saturday. The weather was perfect and we had a steady stream of customers come by. 

I was selling most of the baby and kid's things I had. I recently did a pretty thorough decluttering of the house. And we also cleaned out our sheds in preparation for the sale. 

Needless to say, there were piles of treasures! 

God really blessed our efforts--we sold so much and were able to surpass our goal for the amount of money raised. 

This is what's left in our living room--
 It looks like a lot but it really is nothing! We had over double the amount of boxes to start with plus lots of bigger items. Before the sale, our living room was almost full! 

These leftovers will be going to the thrift store soon. I've freecycled some items and gave some things to a friend. I took the box of books that was left to the library. 

And as if our busy yard sale wasn't enough, our dog Rock added to the day of adventure by escaping out the back corner of our yard sometime during the sale. 

I had put him out in the fenced yard and after a while during a lull in the sale, I went to get him and  bring him out front with us. 

He was nowhere to be found. There was no sound of dog. It was very unusual especially since I had the leash in my hand and he usually comes running when he sees or hears it. 

We looked everywhere and then discovered a small opening in the fence at the back corner of the property that we thought he may have escaped through. Even though we're not sure how that big head fit through the opening!  

Anyways, to make a long story short, we searched the neighborhood, talked to everyone who was out and put up flyers with Rock's mug shot on them. 

Since Rock isn't a runner normally (and has hardly ever gotten loose!), we really weren't sure how fast he would move or really  how long he had been gone. We have a lot of woods in and behind our neighborhood plus our neighborhood is off a very busy road. So we hoped to find him before he got too far away. 

Thankfully, Rock was found after about 2 hours. He was only about 4 houses away in the woods between the 2 rows of houses. A neighbor called saying that he had seen the dog back there and could hear him thrashing around in the woods. 

We raced over and sure enough, there he was! A young neighbor offered to jump the fence to get to Rock, I handed him the leash and he got Rock out of the woods ( quite a feat with all the brambles and briars) and brought him home to us. 

Meanwhile, a friend of ours who had joined us to sell a few things was keeping our sale going. 

We are very grateful for answered prayer in bringing Rock back home, for a successful sale and perfect timing for having someone else here to help! 

Rock has slept a lot in the past few days. I think he was exhausted from the whole ordeal. We have picked lots of thorns from his fur! 

Oh, and that opening in the fence? It's been repaired. Hopefully no more adventures like this anytime soon!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Getting Rid of Laundry Soap Build-up

I loved using my own homemade laundry soap. It was easy to make, cheap and got our clothes nice and clean.

But after we moved to our current home where we have hard water, we began to notice a filmy residue beginning to build up on our laundry. This was particularly noticeable on our towels and washcloths and affected the absorbency. (I noticed the same type of thing a few years back when I was using a detergent with a built-in fabric softener.)

All we could figure out was possibly the homemade detergent with hard water was not a good combination. Has anyone else experienced this? Also, I've only tried the powdered homemade detergent so I don't know if the liquid kind would be different or not. 

For now, we've switched back to All Free and Clear. For most laundry items, just the detergent switch did away with the filmy residue. 

For the other things, namely towels, I've had to strip them using hot water, vinegar and baking soda using this method. It's very easy and has been effective. I have one small load of dishcloths that I have had to run through this stripping method a couple of times. They were the worst of all. 

The method: 

Put laundry in washing machine with HOT water and 1 cup white vinegar. Let run through entire cycle. 

Leave load in machine and wash with HOT water and 1/2 cup baking soda. 

When done, dry in the dryer. 

If filmy residue is not gone, repeat. 

This also works well for smelly towels. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Frugal Five

Five ways I've saved money recently...
Today's packed meal: salmon cakes, leftover broccoli, mayo, applesauce, fresh veggies and  banana nut muffins.

  1. Packed lunches (and a few suppers) for those times when we were not at home to eat. While we do eat out and run through the drive-thru occasionally, we save money and eat much better when we eat food from home!
  2. Mended some clothes and shortened some thrifted jeans. I use this method for hemming jeans; it's easy and keeps the original hem. I'm not short but pants are almost always too long for me.
  3. Made chicken broth after roasting a chicken. I look at this as almost free broth since I could just throw the bones away. Much healthier and less expensive than the canned broth from the store.
  4. Requested a couple of books from the library. I love the library. Not only do I save money by getting books there but it keeps me from having to store all the books I read.
  5. Gave myself a haircut. This is the second time I've cut my own hair. I got braver this time and cut some bangs. Not perfect but I think it looks ok and it is definitely frugal!
How have you saved money recently? Please share in the comments so we can all be encouraged and inspired in our frugal journeys!