Friday, April 22, 2011

A Dreamy Hair Fix...

About a week ago, I ran out of my gallon sized Color Care Biolage Shampoo that I've had for over two years...not joking...that's how often I am able to take a shower and wash my hair. ;) But, seriously, I wash my hair every two or three days, condition, blow dry, and curl. I was sad my trusty shampoo had dripped out its last drop.

Then again, I was sad about my hair for a number of reasons; my once soft straight hair, which my husband could run his fingers through if he so chose, was coarse, tangled, and fried. A conspiratorial combination of age, pregnancies, hormones, and added pigment-less (translation: "gray") hairs are the suspected culprit.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out whether to venture out into a new shampoo realm for a possible fix when I had a dream. I have really weird dreams...I think because they are just a slight alteration of my normal sleepy state since I don't really sleep a whole lot.

The dream went like this. I was at a party with a friend and she introduced me to a friend of hers. She told me during the introduction that her friend was a hairdresser, so, in my dream, I pounced on this new acquaintance, "HEY, I have a question!!!"

And, in my dream, I told her my dilemma.

Her response was to whisper in my ear "a little hair secret"--

She said I should try my husband's Head & Shoulders. (Ours is the 2-in-1 kind with shampoo and conditioner in it--how do they do that?).

Well, I woke up thinking I might just be crazy, but I had nothing to lose, so I shampooed with the dreaded "husband's shampoo." Oh, I thought I was going to end up with sticks for strands.

But, you know what? It turned out the silkiest, smoothest, healthiest-looking hair I have had in YEARS! Even Scott commented on it! (UNHEARD OF!)

I also used my Nice and Easy color seal conditioner which was hanging around in my shower from the last at-home color job too (I used this before, so this was not the secret, but it could have been the combination that worked so well).

And my hair turned out like this (without any curl of course), and ever so flatteringly taken in the garage; it's a little flat in these pictures, but hey, it's not bad!

So, even though it doesn't look like this:

At least it doesn't look like this:

And this is my frugal dreamy hair fix for the day.

The end. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Little Nooks and Crannies

Some parts of the house just make me smile. This little table with room for my latest reading material and devotions, the bread machine, and lamp, just makes me smile. Emma loves it too. I also took an old bulletin board, spray painted the frame black, covered it in fabric, and put up all my important information. Menu and Cleaning Plans, Priorities and Family Foci (right? That's the plural of focus??), Exercise Schedule, etc. I also put black ribbon along the edge so I didn't have to be too precise with the fabric.
I also love this breakfast nook table. And I love the wonderful list of "Be's" in the corner. This is where we spend a lot of the day, and I'm glad. It has a great natural light from the front and a view of the horse stables across the street. Our hummingbird feeder is hanging right outside so we can watch them feed while WE feed! :)
We purchased the nook table on Craig's List for a mere $100!! The wall hanging was made by a friend for a friend and I CHERISH it. It reads, "Be Grateful, Be Smart, Be Clean, Be True, Be Humble, Be Prayerful." Can't get better than that!!


Free Table

The girls' room gets a new table from a friend! FREE! It's the little table at the end of the crib. SO cute, huh? And Kya loves to do her schoolwork there. She keeps special things like her calculator and special pens, pencils and erasers in the little drawer. Thanks friend! We love hand-me-downs!

My Mudroom/Laundry Room of Happiness

Here are some more pictures of my frugal redo of the mudroom (really, a mud area when compared to some blogged mudrooms I've recently seen), pantry, and laundry room. I adore having a place big enough to write out ideas and verses and menu plans, etc. Whatever strikes my fancy for the day, up it goes and I get to look at it all day! LOVE that! Here is the boot tray and a bench that used to be blue, which was weathered from being outdoors for quite a while. I spray painted it oil rubbed bronze (which apparently translates to shimmery black). The bench is perfect for little bummies to sit and put on or take off shoes. Scott loves that he has a place for his muddy farm boots.
A closer look at the chalkboard wall and mirror...
And the window area, with a stupid flash in the window. Here, I was given the tray by a dear sweet friend, the flowers are from Wally Mart, the lamp was given to me also by a dear friend, and the Pepsi sign has been hanging out around the garage for years. The valance was a yard sale find and the clock came with the house.

This room is my favorite in the house so far...althought I still don't care to do laundry (you'll note the washer and dryer are not pictured because they are covered in full baskets of dirty and clean cothes, haphazardly strewn about...bleh...laundry...I really don't like it.) I thought perhaps I would suddenly love doing laundry once the room was done, but no. It's really nice in there though. And I love love love my chalkboard wall!!! So I think I'll regularly walk in with my back to the washer and dryer, stare at my favorite wall and go right back out again. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clean it up!

Sometimes there are things I put off because I can't afford the major redo I'd like--you know, full new patio decor, or whatever. But, what I'm learning (slowly) is that I often much prefer an area of the farm after just cleaning it up a bit! And clean up is free!

So, here's the little area by our carport that has a small garden of artichokes and snow peas (they are on the right in the before pictures, camouflaged by the weeds and grasses.)





See, it's not beautiful, but it's clean! I just took a hula hoe and a rake and about 45 minutes later, I had filled the wheel barrow with weeds and grass, taken it out to the chickens to chomp on, and now we can walk through this little area of the farm and breathe a small sigh of relief that it is clean. :) Nice, huh?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chalkboard Wall

BEFORE: AFTER: (yes, that's Lucy Barbie's tail in the back there)...

This is the chalkboard wall in the mudroom area. This room is not completed yet, but I wanted to show the chalkboard wall I looooooooooooooooove so dearly. :)

Master Bedroom Redo


I wish I had taken a better before picture, and that I had a GREAT camera, but this will give you an idea of what I did. The sconces, I spray painted with "oil rubbed bronze" and reattached upside down, the bedside tables were replaced with stools I spray painted black, and the chairs and couch area were more defined. The number one frugal fix for this room? Cleaning up the clutter! I still have a lot to do...we need some window treatments, and ultimately, I'd love to get a more neutral comforter set, but for now, we are much happier in here! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Style

Could my whole house look like this please? I love this old country general store style. It makes the happy in me jump up and down and say, "Yes, this is you! This is YOU!!!!" Minus some of the clutter of course.

Do you have a style that makes the happy in you scream, "THIS IS YOU!!!"

Picture from here:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

60 Uses of Baking Soda

This was forwarded to me from a friend:

Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda has many different uses in the household. Although much more expensive products have been developed over the years to do the same jobs, baking soda can work for you just as well, if not better. Use it in the following ways:

1. To make your own baking powder, stir and sift together 2 parts of Cream of Tartar to 1 part baking soda and 1 part cornstarch.

2. Be sure to keep an extra box of baking soda by your stove in case of grease or electrical fire. Scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out.

3. Keep a container of baking soda in your garage as well as in your car to put out a fire. It won't damage anything it touches.

4. Baking soda will also put out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs.

5. Clean vegetables and fruit with baking soda. Sprinkle in water, soak and rise the produce.

6. Wash garbage cans with baking soda.

7. Soak and wash diapers with baking soda.

8. Oil and grease - stained clothing washes out better with soda added to the washing water.

9. Clean your fridge and freezer with dry soda sprinkled on a damp cloth. rinse with clear water.

10. Deodorize your fridge and freezer by putting in an open container of baking soda to absorb odors. Stir and turn over the soda from time to time. Replace every 2 months.

11. Soda absorbs kitty litter odors. Cover the bottom of the kitty box with 1 part soda; then add a layer of 3 parts kitty litter on top.

12. Always add 1/2 cup soda to your washing machine load.

13. Clean combs and brushes in a soda solution.

14. Wash food and drink containers with soda and water.

15. Wash marble-topped furniture with a solution of 3 tablespoons of soda in 1 quart of warm water. Let stand awhile, then rinse.

16. Clean formica counter tops with baking soda on a damp sponge.

17. Wash out thermos bottles and cooling containers with soda and water to get rid of stale smells.

18. To remove stubborn stains from marble, formica or plastic surfaces, scour with a paste of soda and water.

19. Wash glass or stainless steel coffee pots (but not aluminum) in a soda solution ( 3 tbsp. soda to 1 quart water).

20. Run you coffee maker through its cycle with a soda solution. Rinse.

21. Give baby bottles a good cleaning with soda and hot water.

22. Sprinkle soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off.

23. Sprinkle soda on greasy garage floor. Let stand, scrub and rinse.

24. Polish silverware with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rub, rinse and dry.

25. For silver pieces without raised patterns or cemented-on handles: place the silver on aluminum foil in an enamel pot. Add boiling water and 4 tbsp. baking soda. Let stand, rinse and dry.

26. Reduce odor build-up in your dishwasher by sprinkling some soda on the bottom.

27. Run your dishwasher through its cycle with soda in it instead of soap to give it a good cleaning.

28. To remove burned-on food from a pan: let the pan soak in soda and water for 10 minutes before washing. Or scrub the pot with dry soda and a moist scouring pad.

29. For a badly-burned pan with a thick layer of burned-on food: pour a thick layer of soda directly onto the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle on just enough water so as to moisten the soda. Leave the pot overnight, then scrub it clean next day.

30. Rub stainless steel and chrome with a moist cloth and dry baking soda to shine it up. Rinse and dry. On stainless steel, scrub in the direction of the grain.

31. Clean plastic, porcelain and glass with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rinse and dry.

32. Remove that bad smell from ashtrays with soda and water.

33. Sprinkle a bit of dry soda in your ashtrays to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.

34. Clean your bathroom with dry soda on a moist sponge - sink, tub, tiles, shower stall, etc.

35. Keep your drains clean and free-flowing by putting 4 tablespoons of soda in them each week. Flush the soda down with hot water.

36. Soak your shower curtains in water and soda to clean them.

37. To remove strong odors from your hands, wet your hands and rub them hard with soda, then rinse.

38. Sprinkle baking soda on your wet toothbrush and brush your teeth and dentures with it.

39. Sprinkle soda in tennis shoes, socks, boots and slippers to eliminate odor.

40. Add 1/2 cups or more of baking soda to your bath water to soften your skin.

41. Putting 2 tbsp. of baking soda in your baby's bath water will help relieve diaper rash irritations.

42. Apply soda directly to insect bites, rashes and poison ivy to relieve discomfort. Make a paste with water.

43. Take a soda bath to relieve general skin irritations such as measles and chicken pox.

44. Take 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water to relieve acid indigestion or heartburn.

45. Gargle with 1/2 tsp. baking soda in 1/2 glass of water. Freshens and cleans your mouth.

46. Used as a mouthwash, baking soda will also relieve canker sore pain.

47. To relieve sunburn: use a paste of baking soda and water.

48. Bug bites: use a poultice of baking soda and vinegar.

49. Bee sting: use a poultice of baking soda and water.

50. Windburns: moisten some baking soda and apply directly.

51. Making Play Clay with baking soda: combine 1 1/4 cups water, 2 cups soda, 1 cup cornstarch.

52. Use soda as an underarm deodorant.

53. If your baby spits up on his shirt after feeding, moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled shirt. The odor will go away.

54. When scalding a chicken, add 1 tsp. of soda to the boiling water. The feathers will come off easier and flesh will be clean and white.

55. Repel rain from windshield. Put gobs of baking soda on a dampened cloth and wipe windows inside and out.

56. Add to water to soak dried beans to make them more digestible.

57. Add to water to remove the "gamey" taste from wild game.

58. Use to sweeten sour dishcloths.

59. Use dry with a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.

60. Use to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from toaster. Dampen cloth and make a mild abrasive with baking soda.

Monday, March 21, 2011

...Dinner Rolls!

Oh no! I haven't even a loaf of bread to go with dinner! But, no worry! Martha Stewart to the rescue! These no knead dinner rolls were super easy and most of us have these ingredients handy (click the photo for the recipe link)! YUMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!! Also, on the subject of bread, my husband stopped by the bread store today and got ten loaves for $11. Seriously! It's the best place to get inexpensive bread. We freeze about ten loaves at a time and pull them out as needed for sandwiches or buttered bread with our Italian meals.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This was ordered today...CHEAP!

Well, I hate to order things that are just lost somewhere around the house, but the van is in the shop and I have looked everywhere! You can get these silly things SO cheaply these days. Click on the pic for some BARGAINS! Shipping, of course, gets ya every time...but, if you can minimize shipping costs, and avoid spending gas money and hauling your four little ones to Walmart, where you're bound to spend $40 on extra stuff, I still say ordering is frugal!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mudroom Redo...Almost Finished...

Stay tuned...the chalkboard paint and new boot bench in the mudroom are almost dry...where is that camera cord?????

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Respecting Your Husband in Public

Frugal Fix of the Day: Respecting Your Husband in Public

Issue: Helping your husband feel more respected and loved...for FREE!

Have you ever known one of those couples where the wife "fixes" her husband's facts while he is speaking?

Example: Husband is talking to someone and wife sits nearby (or hovers) and interjects random corrections...he says, "300." She corrects, "no, I think it was 279." He says it happened on Tuesday, she corrects: it was more likely on Thursday.

Not a big deal, right?

Except, if you think about it, it undermines him. It tells those around her that she doesn't trust her husband or his facts. It shouts disrespect. And I think it might embarrass him a little...although it seems like most husbands who have correcting wives are kind of used to it...

My husband surprisingly thanked me the other night after spending the evening with a couple who practices this sort of correction, for not doing that to him. This shocked me for two reasons. One, if you know my husband, he seldom complains about or criticizes anyone. He is an amazingly good person who sees little need to judge or criticize others (nice, huh?) and two, and I had never really thought about it made me realize that the reason I felt this particular wife didn't respect her husband had a lot to do with this practice. It did really seem to display a disrespect and distrust for her husband...not to mention being highly annoying! Ha!

I am blessed with a husband without penchant for exaggeration or factual inaccuracy, but he strays from the "true" (read "my") account of facts from time to time.

So, the frugal fix for the day to have a husband who feels thankful, respected and confident, is to keep your lip zipped as a wife when you detect inaccuracy flowing from his mouth in public...and if the information really needs correcting that badly, perhaps wait until you are in private and gently, lovingly ask him if maybe he remembered inaccurately.

As always, I am open to respectful dissent...just a frugal thought for the day...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dishwasher Soap Replaceent

Problem: We ran out of dishwasher soap before I put in my Melaleuca order.

We order all our cleaning stuff (and drug store type stuff) from an eco-friendly company called Melaleuca.

But, I forgot to order dishwashing soap last month and I just squeezed out the last little droplets about a week ago.

At first, I thought my fix would be to just wash the dishes by hand, but that didn't happen.


Last night, out of desperation, I put a mixture of apple cider vinegar and the juice of one lemon (thanks for the wonderful lemons Deb!) in the dishwasher soap dispenser.

And you know what? I think my dishes are cleaner than they have ever been!

Weird, but true. Try it if you're in a pinch!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food Storage Fix

Here's my frugal food storage tip of the day...

I buy bread flour, all purpose flour and sugar at Costco every nine months or so (or my in-laws or some other nice person does...);

I get the 50 lb. bags.

But, when we used to store it in regular containers with lids, we would get bugs, and there was never a container big enough or just...right.

So, Scott suggested 5 gallon paint containers. And wouldn't you know a 50 lb. sack of flour fits PERFECTLY in one 5 gallon paint container?

These containers can be purchased cheaply at Wal-mart for under $5 and are airtight. We have been using them for a little over two years and have never had a problem with bugs or staleness.

I cannot attest to the food grade quality of the containers, but I have seen a number of sites recommending and endorsing food storage in these containers since we "discovered" them...and we thought we were so original.

I stack the containers three high in the corner of my kitchen next to the fridge. The kids occasionally get them out as "drums" when they get lighter and often use them as stools as well. I love a multi-use container, don't you?
I used to keep rice in them, but I never buy that much rice at a time, so it seemed a bit silly to have like three inches of rice in the bottom of a giant bucket!
Con: The lids are tough to get off until you get used to them...and forget it if you have acrylic nails...

All in all though, a frugal fix for a common bulk storage problem.

Grow it!!!

Ok, seriously, only Martha Stewart's garden looks THIS good:
And here is a picture of the below-referenced asparagus we will be growing...I still have no camera cord, and I know you want a visual...

One of the things we hoped for most at the new house was "to farm"...and by that, I mean "to grow lots of healthy stuff to eat and raise lots of productive animals..." We don't really like to feed and water stuff that doesn't produce anything for us...

But, you know what? We totally forgot about that the last six months with the baby, and moving, and the basic maintenance of life...and, you know, you get into a routine, and farming doesn't really fit into it, so you don't do it.

THEN, on our date night last night (thanks in-laws!), Scott says as though it is a revelation, "Hey, remember we were going to save money by growing our own food???""

"OH YAH!" came my excited response!

So today, I am starting our asparagus patch...because I love asparagus and I don't mind stinky pee...did you know that asparagus has no first year harvest? Interesting no? Here's the link on Asparagus Patch stuff: Oh Martha, I adore you so...

And, because two years is a long time and I'm impatient, I am also growing these "easy to grow" cool weather crops: Teton spinach, Kentucky brown beans, Danvers half long carrots, and Sugar Ann Peas. (Inspiration for "easy to grow" taken from here: Thanks again Martha!

We already have artichokes, radishes and other sugar peas growing, but nothing on a scale that would save us any dinero. We got some free four year old horse poo from a cattle ranchin' buddy of Scott's and our compost is ready to add in!

Here we gooooooooooo (Disney reference--anyone?)...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fix One Setback

Fix One: Master Bedroom Bleckiness

You know, I think lots of people have a room like this...that room that you walk into and go...bleh...

That's our master much potential and space galore...but you know, we throw our underwear...I mean...clothes...on the floor, the kids throw their toys and towels, and sippy cups...oh you probably think we're slobs, but that's OK...I like transparency...I believe the latest catch word is "authentic." That's me..authentic.

Oh, I neaten it up once a month when my sweet mommies from Mommies in the Word meet in there with me. They all huddle close for fear that one of the many mismatched fabrics will attack them...I am especially sympathetic to my many mommy friends with an eye for decorating...I think their time here each month is probably especially challenging, but it grows their character as they work on not judging that's good.

So, anyway, some of the things that make me uninspired are the brass sconces on the wall, the lack of consistent fabric choice (read: random colors everywhere), and my husband's nightstand of horrendousness--the little table itself, but also all the random cords and stuff everywhere--cell phone plug, TWO alarm clocks??? (Why have I never noticed or asked about this strange practice???), the overflowing laundry basket...

Sounds overwhelming, but anything is until you break it down.

Today, I tackled two things...the nightstand, and the sconces...

SETBACK ONE: Did you know it is helpful to your husband when you pull something with wires out of the wall if you remember which wires go where? Because apparently they are not "color coated"....

Please standby...

Why Another Blog?

Why oh why is she starting ANOTHER blog? Surely there are enough would-be bloggers trying to become the next Pioneer Woman, seeking popularity and fame...

But, no, these are not my motivations...well, ok, I like feedback as much as the next person, but I have a nobler goal (well, all right, I had to make one up so I felt better about it, but still...)

This blog is for accountability.

I have a lot of ideas and a lot of motivation and a lot of short bursts.

But very little to show for it lately.

So, I figure, if I have a place to share my frugal fixes, then I may actually get them done!

I have a lot of "issues" here on the Haner Farm--from household decorating challenges to weight loss and food concerns, all of which I'd like to fix, but on a strict (mostly "free") budget. And what a great way to stay accountable by posting those projects and solutions for the world to see (well, ok, for all five of you who love me enough to placate me and become "folllowers.")

OK, off to make a day of it. Today is master bedroom cleanup on my trusty little cleaning calendar, so we'll see what happens.

Stay tuned! And thanks for your patience in advance...