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Here are a few tips on saving some money when doing laundry:

1. Making your own detergent. This is so easy to do, very inexpensive, and makes a ton. The next time I make it (in a few months) I will post the recipe and pictures, for now just do an online search and you will find several different methods.

2. Use cold water for wash and rinse. Over a year this will save a lot in the cost of heating water.

3. Only wash full loads. Seriously, full loads!

4. Hang everything dry, well almost everything. Our sheets are the only thing we don’t hang dry because they are too big to fit on our balcony. We have two folding drying racks that we place on our balcony or, if the weather is bad, set in our living room. They are a little expensive, but the drier is one of the top energy using appliances so it was worth the up front cost. If you have a backyard hang a clothes line and get some good clothes pins.

If you do not have a washer and dryer in your home here are a few tips for you:

1. Check around local laundromats to see if they run specials on certain days of the week. Such as $.50 off double loads on Tuesdays. Then do your laundry on the “special” days.

2. Hang dry, this will save you at least a dollar a load. But, usually the dryers aren’t they great and require a second go round which saves another dollor. (see above for more details)

3. Hand wash. In our last apartment we used a Wonder Wash (counter top crank washing machine) to wash our clothes. We purchased it to wash the cloth diapers so we didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg in laundry every other day. It is simple but does require more time and effort than putting your clothes in a machine and walking away. I will post more on our Wonder Wash another day.

Happy laundering!

Today I remembered many things about pregnancy. I remembered that it is not glamorous. I remembered that I had a cold for almost 3 months! I do not want to go through that again. So, I am taking action now. I am giving the apartment a deep, deep clean and then (hopefully) I am going to stay on top of it and keep it that way. I know that this will not prevent me from getting sick, but it might help and I am all for that.

I began tonight with the floors of the kitchen, entrance, and bathrooms. I swept and then really wished for a mop, so I wouldn’t have to scrub on my hands and knees. Then I looked up and saw a swifer-floor-cleaner-thing-a-ma-bob which I didn’t even know that I had. I investigated and found that I even had 2 of the pads you stick on there to clean. I was ecstatic! I sprayed the floor with my favorite all purpose disinfectant spray: vinegar and water, and went to town. My floors are brilliantly clean. I think that they are actually making a twinkling sound!

Then I thought, I need to make a reusable pad for this mop! So, I intend to do that. I am going to check out my stash of rags and see if I have anything in the right size. Depending on the material I may need to make it a few layers thick. If so I will just hop to the sewing machine and stitch it lengthwise in the middle and then a quarter of the way on each side and then on the ends, essentially quilting the pieces together. I may also try one of the cloth diapers that we used as burp rags made out of birds eye material, essentially gauze. They are already three layers in the middle and might even be the right size!

Hopefully all of my house will be twinkling soon. Although I am predicting that once I have made a clean sweep I will turn around and it will be undone! Tis the life of a 10 month old!

You can actually buy them for only a dollar! You have to ask because they are behind the counter. When we went to get ours Wednesday night they were actually out of the cheap ones and only had one more of the $6 package which contained two tests. The cashier said it was a very popular item that day. Why did we buy a pregnancy test you are asking. Well, after 18 months of having no “special time of the month” it came and passed. Then 6 weeks later, here we are with nothing. I don’t feel any different. So we thought “well it is because I am still nursing I am not regular.” Then our friends convinced us to get a test since they are only a dollar, so we did, although we paid 6 times that! What happened when we got home? Well I fed Adeline and put her to sleep and then I peed on the stick and this is what happened:

It happened instantly there was no 2 minute delay like the box said their might be. We were and still are overjoyed! (If you know nothing about pregnancy tests, this means we are pregnant!) We were hoping to get pregnant to have our babies close in age. We hugged, I jumped around, and then we prayed.

At first I could think of no words other than “thank you!” then I realized there was much more on my heart. I began to pray about my desire for a natural birth and not a c-section as my last child was. I know childbirth is a “curse” but it is also a huge blessing, at least from everything that I have read and every one of the accounts that I have heard of my friends’ experiences. God knows what is best for us. If the c-section is what will bring a healthy baby and healthy mom that is what I want. However, selfishly, it is not at all what I want. I will have to surrender this to the Lord often. I don’t want to become obsessed with this issue. I need to become educated but I need to keep things in perspective. I will continue to pray. You could pray for me too.

P.S. Sorry to all of you we did not tell in person. We told mostly family over the phone, but we want to shout it from the roof tops! So, please accept our apology and feel free to spread the word.

The Food Bank

We are poor, that is no secret. But we live rich lives and we have never gone without! One way that we have been provided for in the past two months is through the food bank. Every 2nd Wednesday of the month Living Waters House of Prayer opens its food pantry doors and we head in, stock up, and leave with grateful hearts! Here is what we received this trip:Pop tarts (which I already had one), ground beef, pea pods, granola bars, tomato sauce, onion rings (not pictured), cereal, juice, shaving cream, tooth paste, natural peanut better, corn, peaches, chips, olive oil, soap, garlic salt, and so much more!

Thank you to everyone who has ever donated to a food bank, it really is an amazing gift!

Every night before bed I do this:

That is the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, a bowl, a spoon, a cup, multi-vitamins, daily devotional,  and a note from me. This is the least that I can do for a man who wakes up at5 and prepares himself for his day of hard work to provide for us, while he lets his wife and daughter sleep!

The note that I left him this morning was from 1 Kings 18:25-39. Which is the story of the prophets of Baal being unable to arouse their god to bring down fire and Elijah drenching the alter to the Lord in water with a trench around it full of water. Then he prays to the Lord, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me. That this people may know that You, O Lord, are God and that You have turned their heart back again.” “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God’

When I read that I was reminded that God does the impossible!! It is so encouraging to think that He is completely outside the physical laws that we are bound by. I am so thankful that He knows all and the He is in control of all and that He turns hearts back to Him: I am praising Him for turning my heart back to Him, and praying He would do the same to those I love.

We bought some new pants from the Gap with a gift card, hooray for “free to us!” We bought them on clearance, the only problem was that they were 6″ too long for the hubby. So, I fixed the problem.

Step 1: Try the pants on and pin them up to the exact height. Walk around in them and make sure this is where you want them. Measure the length being removed.

Step 2: Decide your seam allowance size. this is the part at the bottom of the pants that is folded over and sewn. With these pants the seam allowance I chose was 1/2″. It is important to not cut the pants until you have added in this seam allowance TWICE. You will fold the material over two times. In other words, we needed to bring the pants up 6″ but I only cut off 5″.

Step 3: Once you have determined how much is needed to be removed, mark all around the pant leg and then cut it off!

Step 4: Pin up the first seam allowance, in this case 1/2″. Once you have gone all around roll it up a second time and pin it around, removing the first layer of pins as you go. 

Step 5: Stitch them up! Sew as close to the top of the seam as possible, think farthest from the floor. This will give a professional look to the hem. I used a sewing machine and it took 5 minutes to sew them both. Make sure you use a strong needle, several layers of denim can be stressful for your needle. If you are sewing by hand it will take longer but if you are diligent and keep your stitches even, in the end no one will notice unless they spend a lot of time up close to your feet! Tada, pants that fit! (and hubby’s stinky feet!)

Here is my totally delicious recipe for Granola. If you are looking for exact measurements, you have come to the wrong place.

Ingredients:

Oat Meal (Old Fashioned Oats)

Honey

Oil (I used canola oil because it has no flavor and isn’t terrible for you, you could try coconut oil or even sunflower oil)

Sesame seeds

Almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 or 375 (like I said I am not exact and rarely do I make a recipe the same way twice!)

2. Add about 2 cups of oat meal to the mixing bowl and drizzle honey on top until the top is pretty well covered

3. Sprinkle sesame seeds and almonds (I crushed my almonds so that I can use less and have almond in every bite)

4. Drizzle the oil and stir. I try to use as little oil as possible but still coating the oats.

5. Cover my pan with aluminum foil and spray it with non stick spray (this is not essential but it will help with clean up)

6. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet about 1/4 inch thick and pop it in the oven ( I use the toaster oven for so many reasons, but this allows a smaller batch and even cooking)

7. Stir the granola every once in a while for even cooking

8. They are done when they have turned from pale to golden in color, about 15 to 20 minutes

9. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool before you serve or package them

I eat mine with Kefir and a drizzle of honey.

How do you eat your granola?

P.S. If you really want exact measurements for this post a comment and the next time I make it I will actually measure things out for you!