Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In The Poor House

Not to be confused with a whore house.

Although, living in a whore house would
certainly be more exciting.

I've always believed that if there were such a thing as a past life,
I would have either been a 
Madame of a Ladies House of Ill Repute,
a Lounge Singer,
or Jessica Rabbit.

Either way, I would have been kinda slutty.

Alas, I am not.

I am just a middle aged women living in a house that is trying to kill me.
Financially, that is.

Let me start by telling you that there are so many things
that I love about this house.

I love my kitchen.
It's small and easy to work in.
I have a place for everything.

 I love my back yard.
Even though caring for it is very time consuming.

 I love that I have that ash tree there between the two patios.
The leaves change to orange and red in the fall and remind me of Indiana.

I love all the storage in this house.

However, since buying this home almost a year ago,
it is being a total douche canoe.

I am so grateful that we have a home warranty.

In the past year, this is what we have experienced.

Leak under the jetted tub causing damage to bedroom carpet.
Toilet leaking all over the bathroom floor.
Air conditioner going out twice.
Evaporative cooler going out.
Water softener leak.
Leak in the roof causing damage to bedroom ceiling.
Garage door opener calling it quits.
Tree in front yard infested with bore beetles.
Sprinkler system not working.
Polybutelene pipes replaced in garage.
Pool pump needing repair
Leak in the pool fountain

You may be asking yourself why we didn't get an inspection
prior to moving in.

We did, and all was fine.

Like I said, I am so thankful to have a home warranty
so that many of these things were covered and didn't
cost a lot out of pocket.

We have put ourselves back on a really strict budget.
Our paychecks just don't stretch like they used to.
Times are hard.
Money is tight.
The only shopping I do is at the grocery.
I don't go out for lunches.
Budgets are hard and boring.

But still, I sit here in my living room,
with my TV on mute,
listening for any strange noise that may indicate 
that the next shoe has dropped.

Seriously, how many shoes can this house have???!!

Brian:  Did you hear that?
Holly:  Yes, it was just the ice maker.
Brian:  Is it supposed to sound like that?
Holly:  I think we have heavy ice.
Brian:  That's not a real thing.
Holly:  Turn the TV up.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Remember How To Do This

Did you know that I haven't blogged in ages?
Possibly no one noticed.

My friend, Jo, stopped blogging almost a year ago 
and I followed suit.
And because I want to be just like Jo, 
when she posted yesterday, I had to do it also.
I have to do everything she does because 
I don't have a mind of my own.

Many things have happened since I last posted 
and I'm going to try to get everything in 
within the next few posts.

Let's start here:

That is my mother's engagement ring.
It is now perched, along with a gold band
on my daughter's finger.

I've been saving it for her
since my mother passed away almost twenty years ago.
She's always loved this ring.

Katie married Travis in June.

They decided to elope in Palm Springs.
I was just so thrilled for them both.

Travis is in the Marines.
He is stationed in Twenty Nine Palms, California.
Katie was living here in Glendale
and they were driving back and forth
every weekend to see one another.

This handsome boy is our dream come true for her.
We love him like no body's business.
He is loving,
and just as goofy as our Katie.

They came over for dinner several months ago
and Travis asked me for her hand.
I knew this was coming so I had prepared for it. 
Here is what I had written out and said to this boy:


For the most part, I raised this beautiful girl by myself.
I was the first person to hold her when she was born.
I was the first person in this world to even know she existed.
And I was the first person to love her.

And that love is fierce.
There is nothing I can begin to compare it to.

I would do anything for my daughter.
I live for her; I would die for her,
And just so you know, I could kill for her.

I’ve invested everything I have in her.
There is nothing more precious to me.

You come to me now, not just asking for my daughter’s hand,
But asking for everything I’ve invested in over the past 25 years.
You’re asking for all the training I’ve provided,
the money I’ve sank into medical bills,
the clothes and education. 
You are asking to reap the harvest that I so carefully tended
and protected for the best part of my life.

And now she’s a woman.
A beautiful, caring, loving, woman.

Yes, she’s opinionated, strong willed, and highly emotional. 
She stands up for what she believes in.
She’s strong, but so fragile.
She’s the most precious thing I have in this world.

And not just anyone can come and take that from me.
It would have to be a man that knows himself,
that would be willing to protect her with his life.
That would love her not because of who she is in good times,
But in spite of all the hard times.

I need you to understand how hard God and I have worked to get her ready for you.

I believe that you know your own heart,
And that you know hers too.
I would do anything to see her happy.
And that includes giving my blessing to you both.

Your parents raised you to be the wonderful man that you’ve become.
And I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
And I couldn’t see giving my most precious gift to anyone but you.

Take good care of each other.


After they were married,
Katie and Travis moved into a house in Yucca Valley, CA.

It's difficult for me that she is so far away 
but I am am just so happy for them both.

They are in town this weekend and
she is on her way over with their new puppy.

That's what I've got today.

I'm hoping to start posting at least once a week.



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Been Gone a Long Long Time

Hi Everyone!
Remember me?

I know, it's been a while.

I've been keeping myself busy around the house lately.
The weather here has been toasty.
We had our first triple digit number last week.
I think we were at 101 degrees last Wednesday.

I've been enjoying spending some time outside
working in the yard.
It's not been too bad and when I do get hot
I have to say I sure am enjoying this baby.

The garden is growing like crazy.
I have more lettuce than I know what to do with.

The tomatoes are growing so fast.
These Big Boy Varieties are about the size of my fist right now.

My first bell pepper.

Our hibiscus are looking good right now.
I wasn't sure this one was going to make it
but with a little loving care
she's turning out beautiful blooms.

We have four bird feeders in our back yard.
We live in bird central.
I fill these large feeders in the mornings and by the afternoon,
all four of them are empty.

Next to the feeders,
I keep suet cake cases.
When I ran out of suet cakes,
I began filling them with bits of yarn
and I like to watch the birds come and grab some
for their nests.

We have two back patios.
The main one runs almost the length of the house,
the other is under a Ramada next to the pool.

The Ramada patio has been empty since we've moved in
since we didn't have enough patio furniture.
Last weekend we finally found a good sale and now
have some furniture in there.

I'd like to make some new pillows to brighten up the space.

The flowers on the table are so pretty.

I love the contrast of the lime green sweet potato vine
with the dark green of the vincas.

I've been busy inside too.

No, I still haven't redone my bedroom.
I'm still pretending it doesn't exist.
I do have to get on that shortly though.

I've been working on some smaller projects.

Remember my pantry jars?

I love these jars but I find that I'm constantly
in and out of the pantry grabbing them.

I don't like a lot of stuff on the counters
but I wanted these to be more accessible.

As you can see,
they had the original shiny silver lids 
with key tags for labels.

If I wanted them on the counters,
they would need an update.

I sprayed the lids with
Oiled Bronze Spray Paint.
Then I attached oiled bronze knobs to the tops
with E6000 glue.

I found the free printable labels
over here at The Painted Hive.

I didn't have the right label paper to print it out on
but I did have some clear contact paper
so I used that.
I found out the hard way that even after they sit
for an hour, the ink does not dry
very well on the contact paper
and it smudges very easily.

I redid the labels and this time
hit each one with a shot of hairspray.
It worked.
As soon as the hairspray was dry,
the labels didn't smudge.
I just peeled the back off the contact paper 
and applied them to the jars.

They look so much better in my kitchen now.

And one last thing.
Katie's dear sweet boyfriend, Travis,
is home from his third tour in Afghanistan.
We have been so thrilled he is home safe and sound.

Of course,
I haven't seen very much of my Katie lately.
She's been busy with this guy, I guess.

Have a great weekend!



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Simple Honest Living

Anyone who uses social networks
such as Facebook, Blogs, or  Pinterest,
 can see there is a huge trend
 toward consumers making  more frugal choices.

Homemade laundry soap.
Refurbishing their old furniture instead of buying new.
Making simple home cooked meals instead of eating out.

Not too long ago,
It seemed that everyone was trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Buy Bigger!  Buy Better!

It was a cause for embarrassment to admit that you were
making frugal choices, budgeting, 
and looking for ways to cut back on spending.
It meant that you were not quite successful enough.

I think that this is the one good thing 
that has come out of this recession.
People are making better choices.
We are no longer afraid to admit that money is tight
And that we are doing the best we can to hold on to
Whatever it is we have.

We are reusing,
And trying to live more simply.

We’ve gone back to simple pleasures such as,
Hanging our laundry to dry in the sun,
Growing our own vegetables,
Creating beauty from things we already have.

Can you imagine dumpster diving or “shopping the curb”
Just ten short years ago?
If you did, you certainly didn’t tell anyone about it.

If you’re a Pinterest user like I am,
You probably have the same phobia that I do.
The fear of throwing something away that you could possibly reuse.

“Well, I guess I’ll just throw this empty tomato can away.”
But wait…..what if I just…..

“This old suitcase is about to fall apart, I should just toss it.”
But hold on a minute, maybe I could….

I enjoy learning new ways to
live more simply.
Ways to save money.
Paying down our debt.

I'm amazed at the number of women 
who have been willing to open up
on their blogs
and share their financial hardships
and their ideas for saving money.
And so thankful for that.

And it's a good thing.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grab It Fore It Bolts

The garden looks a little crazy right now.
New to gardening, 
we may not have planned it as well as we thought.
The potatoes have taken over.
Perhaps we planted too many.

Perhaps we have not a clue what we are doing.

We're hoping to see them flower and fall over soon
which will tell us that they are ready to harvest.

The lettuce is looking lovely though
and looks like it may bolt soon

so I picked some for a salad tonight.

They are soaking right now in my kitchen sink
in a bath of vinegar and cold water.

I'm not really fooled into thinking
that this will take care of every single tiny bug.
We will probably have a couple of bugs mixed in 
with our croutons.

You're not coming for dinner?

I'm having issues with our strawberry plants.
I don't think I provided enough drainage
and I should have mixed a little sand in with the soil.

See that strawberry?
That's what we are getting out of these.
Teensy, weensy.
Advice, anyone?

I've planted some sweet potato vines in 
a wine barrel in the yard.
Hopefully, we will have a nice trailing vine
this summer.

I thought for the longest time that
this thing was a weed
but stopped myself from pulling it out several times.

the beautiful Gerbera Daisies opened up.
So glad I didn't pull it out.

We bought three gardenia bushes
and planted them under the kitchen window
where they get plenty of shade.
Hard to come by here in Arizona.

Such pretty fragrant blooms!

We're looking at a high of 84 degrees today.
Low 90's for the weekend.

Can't wait to use this
for the first time!

Have a Happy Tuesday!!



Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Cleaning on the Cheap

The windows are all open
and the breeze through the house feels wonderful.

Looks like a high of 84 degrees today
and in the 90's later this week.

Makes a woman feel like cleaning!

I don't have children at home anymore 
so cleaning is not such a chore for me.

Brian is relatively neat,
never misses the waste basket and
never leaves dirty clothes on the floor.

I consider myself blessed.

What I don't care for are the prices of store bought 
cleaning products.
About a year ago I began to make my own.

It took a lot of trial and error
to find the products that worked for me.

Everything I use was either found on 
Elaine's blog: Sunny Simple Life

I've had a few friends ask me what I use
and for the recipes to these
so I thought I would just post them here.

All you will ever need to buy:
Dawn Dish Soap
Rubbing alcohol
Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Mule Team Borax
Cheap Hair Conditioner (Suave)
essential oils (optional)

Here are my tried and true favorite homemade cleaners.

Homemade Laundry Stain Remover - from Elaine

1 part Ammonia
1 part Dawn 
1 part water

 Put in squeeze bottle.  
Apply to stain, wait 15 minutes then wash.

Homemade Laundry Soap

3 Tablespoons Borax

3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
4 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap

Put these ingredients in a large jug.
Pour 4 cups hot water into the jug.
Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid.
Then fill almost to the top with cold water.
(I've done the grated soap method before and found
this one above works just as well and only take 1 minute to make) 
Also, it's low sudsing so I can use it in my high efficiency washer.
For my whites, I add some OxyClean to the load.

Granite Cleaner or Pergo Floor Cleaner

½ cup rubbing alcohol
1 tsp Dawn 

14 drops of essential oil (lemon or orange)

Fill spray bottle to top with hot water
(When I had formica counters,
I used vinegar instead of alcohol, granite doesn't like vinegar)

Carpet Cleaner

2 ½ cups vinegar
2 scoops Oxyclean

Dissolve and add to carpet cleaning machine 
and fill the rest of the way with hot water.  

Homemade Fabric Softener

6 cups of hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups of Suave hair conditioner

Mix conditioner and hot water until conditioner is dissolved.  
Add vinegar.  Use 1/8 cup per load

      Bathtub Cleaner

1 part vinegar
1 part Dawn dish soap
Mix in a spray bottle, and spray on tub.  
Let sit for 15 minutes and then wipe.

      Toilet Cleaner

1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda
sprinkle baking soda in the toilet.
Add vinegar and smile when you see the bubbles.
Because bubbles are fun.
Swish with your toilet brush and then flush.
(I also keep a bleach tablet in the toilet tank)

I buy my vinegar, baking soda and alcohol in bulk at Costco.
Everything goes a long way and will last for several months.

I have several others that I use
and you can find them on my
Pinterest Board marked Favorite Homemade Cleaners.

Another trick I've learned is to make my own 
cleaning wipes.

Pull about 10 paper towels off the roll
and shove them into a mason jar with a lid.
I pour my granite cleaner over these
just enough to moisten them
and keep the sealed jar under my bathroom sinks.
Removes hairspray off the counter tops really well.
Just pull one out and tear it off.

I've also made my own
Swiffer Wet Jet Pads using old microfiber cloths.
I stitched Velcro on them to hold them in place.
I refill the Swiffer bottle with the 
homemade Pergo floor cleaner above.

Hope you're enjoying your spring weather,
whatever it may be.

Let me know if you try any of these
and how they work for you.

Elaine, thanks for all your great advice!