Feb 13, 2016

Weekend Links

In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page

UPDATE ON OUR MOVE: I may be posting a bit less in the coming weeks - because we are getting close to having our house ready to go on the real estate market. I feel like it may kill me, but I am working super duper extra super duper hard to get this thing DONE. I'm hoping we can have the interior of the house finished by the end of the month. Then we are praying for rain-less days so we can paint the exterior, which badly needs it. We are still sort of debating whether to move into our tiny house motor home when we put the house on the market, or whether we'll wait till the house is actually sold. Moving before the house sells would make it so much easier to show. (My family is messy, people.) On the other hand, I'm dreading trying to get sleep in the motor coach. (I have one child who keeps everyone up, and then I'm thinking hubby will wake us all up when he gets up for work in the mornings...)  So we shall see.

A few pics:
I had a picture hanging here for 15 years. Can you tell??
Move the piano 15 years later and you'll discover what our carpet used to look like pre-kids.

Living room...getting ready to paint.

* This is the marriage article I had in my mind, but hadn't put on paper yet. EVERY married couple should read it, methinks.

* Why students leave their faith after graduation.

* Why upping your daily cleaning routine could save you time for other things, in the long run.

* Looking to reduce your grocery bill? This is THE book you need to read!

 * You can cut the suckers off your tomato plants to get many more plants for free. 

* New superbug linked to imported meat.

* How to make herbal salves.

* So many stories about the FDA and herbal medicine. Here are just two: Herbalist tries to conform to FDA regulations and FDA wants to jail Amish salve maker.

* I, too, was highly skeptical about homeopathy. In fact, if I'd understood this would be the main course of treatment my naturopath was going to recommend, I never would have stepped into her office. I was desperate, though. No conventional doctor could do anything for me. So I started a constitutional homeopathic remedy. And it's working! The healing is slow (probably because I've been sick for so many years), but I am healing. All I can says is this: Just because we don't understand how it works doesn't mean it doesn't work.

Oldies but Goodies:

* Easiest Fruits & Vegetables to Grow
* How Much Money Can You Save Gardening and Homesteading?
* What Groceries to Buy When You're Broke
* Why Homemaking Matters
* Making a Mama Chore Chart

Feb 9, 2016

Lazy Girl's Guide to Spring Cleaning (or getting a house ready to sell)

If you were to knock on my door these days, you'd find me covered in paint head to toe. Because when I paint, that's just what happens. Yes, friends, I am working my patootie off painting and cleaning these days. And I got to thinking, it is spring cleaning time(ish), and really all I'm doing is really intensive spring cleaning. So I think some of my little tricks for making the work easier and faster will translate to your house, too - whether or not you're putting your house up for sale.

Don't Use a Sponge or Cloth...Use a Mop!
Do you still wash walls and ceilings with a wet cloth or sponge? Then you're working too hard. Instead, use a mop. Better yet, use a Magic Eraser mop. Not only will you scrub less with one of these things, but you will almost never need to use chemicals - not even the natural kind. A little hot water and a Magic Eraser mop will clean almost anything - even a greasy kitchen ceiling.

And, oh yeah, they work great on floors, too. (Nothing gets my vinyl floor cleaner!)

Get Yourself Some Magic...Erasers, That Is

Got grubby baseboards? Dirty window trim? Icky crown molding? Or stubborn dirt on nearly any hard surface? Don't use elbow grease - use a Magic Eraser sponge. It does a better job - and it shortens cleaning time.

You can buy large boxes of generic "erasers" off eBay, or you can get Walmart's brand (they even sell a container of 12, which will probably last your entire spring cleaning and then some), or there are these, which are only 14 cents each. I always cut each eraser in half because I think they last longer that way. Also, remember that you don't have to press hard with these things - and not doing so will also make them last longer. (Of course, it's always smart to test a surface in an inconspicuous spot first, just to make sure the sponge doesn't remove the finish.)

Don't Sweep and Dust...Vacuum!
The next fantabulous tool you should use is a good vacuum. (I love my Dyson.) Years ago, I posted tips on how to use your vacuum to make housework easier; check it out, if you haven't already. (P.S., when I have a sticky, dusty mess, or just an area with a lot of debris that might clog up my vacuum, I borrow my hubby's shop vac.)

Have Some Popcorn
Speaking of vacuums, they are a real necessity if you have ceilings with bold texture, like acoustical (i.e. popcorn) ceilings. Sure, some people recommend scraping down those popcorn ceilings - but it's quite a project (and requires re-texturing the ceiling, unless you want every little flaw in said ceiling to show). From everything I've read, all but the newest (1990s - forward) popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, and therefore should only be removed by a pro, anyway. (Don't worry; the asbestos is only dangerous when it floats in the air and gets breathed in - i.e., during removal; if you leave the texturing in place, it's not a health hazard. Also bear in mind that popcorn ceilings were invented to help sound proof homes and prevent them from sounding echo-y, and as so don't remove them if you don't like an empty-sounding house.) 

To clean deeply textured ceilings, you can only use a vacuum; see full instructions here. (Be sure to wear safety goggles, since bits of the texturing may fall down.) But nothing spruces up any ceiling better than slapping on a couple coats of paint.  I've been doing that with ours, and I'm amazed by the difference! I really didn't realize how much our ceilings (which haven't been painted in 15 years) were making the rooms look drab. 

The photo doesn't do my ceilings justice. In real life, the freshly painted ceiling is bright and the bumpy texture much less noticeable.

Now, I've painted popcorn ceilings with a thick nap roller before, and it does work - but it's terribly messy - and it doesn't work nearly as well as a slitted foam roller designed for acoustical ceilings. So grab yourself one of those before you begin, then apply paint in both directions; for example, paint left to right, then run the roller front to back, too. I recommend two coats. You'll also want a small paintbrush to cut in the areas near the wall; you can also use it to touch up any little spots that still didn't quite get enough paint. Layers of paint minimize the texturing, too. (Admittedly, though, in order to really get the edges of the ceiling well covered with paint, you're probably going to end up with paint on the wall, too. So it may be a job best left for a time when you want a fresh coat of paint there, too.)

Don't Do It All At Once
Nothing wears down a busy, tired mama more than trying to do all the spring cleaning at once. The good news is - there's no reason for that! Instead, go through your house now and making a list of all the cleaning and repairs that need doing. (I have a free printable for this purpose, here.) This is often recommended before you sell your house, but it's a really handy tool even if you're not planning on moving. Once your list is written, you can just work your way down it as time allows.

Plus, there are few things more satisfying than checking off things on a to-do list. Right? Right!

Feb 6, 2016

Weekend Links

In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page

THIS WEEK, I've made it so non-Proverbs 31 Woman links open in a new window. If you have any troubles with this new set up, would you please leave me a comment? Thanks so much!

* This arrived in the mail. It's widely considered the best reference on the subject, well backed up with scientific studies. Can't wait to read it!

* Common kitchen herbs often have medicinal properties.

* My hubby's cold started going into his chest, so I continued making him my Fight the Cold Tea, but added some mullein. He finds it remarkably effective - a thousand times better than something you could get in the store. Mullein, in particular, is an excellent treatment for illnesses that want to go into your lungs. It's also a weed almost everyone has growing nearby! Another good choice for sicknesses in the lungs is Old Man's Beard, found in many wooded areas.

* How to use Tea Tree Oil throughout the house.

* QUICK TIP: Got dried latex paint on your clothing? Rub on a little hand sanitizer. Works like a charm!

* How some well-intentioned people are hurting Monarch butterflies.

* Annie's brand has been bought by a huge GMO corp

Oldies But Goodies:

* How to turn empty toilet paper rolls into seedling pots
* Got seeds from last year? (Or a few years ago?) Here's how to discover whether they are still good.
* When you feel like a failure as a mom. 
* Combating bad thought patterns with Scripture.

Feb 4, 2016

Prioritizing Your Homestead: A Few Tips

Currently, I am working sooooo very hard to get our suburban house cleaned and painted and on the market. Truly, I don't think I could do it at all if my naturopath hadn't started me on a constitutional homeopathic remedy last summer; I just wouldn't have had the health and energy to complete the task. Even now, it's hard. I have no help (including no babysitters), I homeschool, I work from home, and I still have basic housekeeping chores and cooking to do. But...what keeps me going are thoughts of our new homestead. The wild elk in the clear cut forest next door; plenty of room for the kids to play outside; the possibility of an orchard; a huge garden; lots of critters...

Yet as much as we'd love to get the garden, the orchard, the egg chickens, the meat chickens, the goats, the pigs, and possibly other things going all at once, that is not practical. Homesteading requires a lot of time, energy, money, and planning. To succeed, we shouldn't take on too much at once. Setting up homesteading projects tends to take more time and money than maintaining them.

The question is, how does one decide which projects to do - and in which order? This is very much a matter of personal preference, but I do have some thoughts on the matter.

Start Here

Read everything you can get your hands on concerning homesteading and specific homesteading projects.

Now read that last sentence again, because it is of utmost importance.

I can't tell you how many times novice homesteaders have asked me really basic questions about projects they are smack in the middle of. The worst is when it's about animals - and involves their suffering. (After you butcher your first chicken is not the time to ask questions about how to do it humanely, folks.)

Homesteaders need a lot of different skills. Skills take time to learn. Sure, YouTube videos and conversations with other homesteaders are helpful, but nothing (in my opinion) really takes the place of getting your fundamentals from reading.

Wants vs. Needs
In our society, wants often take precedence, but if you truly want to live a more self sufficient life, needs must take priority. Keep this firmly in mind as you carefully plan your homestead.

Get out of Debt
This must come before buying new land or beginning building projects. If you're always trying to earn money to pay off debts, you won't have the time or energy to homestead. Debt is about consumption. Homesteading is about production. Debt is about slavery. Homesteading is about freedom. Plus, from personal experience I can tell you that being out of debt and having a great credit rating will make buying your dream homestead much easier, even if you plan to do it with cash.
Courtesy  C. E. Price and Wikipedia Commons.

Few of us can afford acres and acres of ideal homesteading land. (And, in truth, there's virtually no ideal homesteading land, anyway.) So it's important to wipe that ideal out of your head and look at things more realistically. First, consider how you can save money for your homestead, even if you're only putting aside a small amount each month. Then consider: Should you put off your homestead dreams until you can buy acreage? Or should you start homesteading now, where you are. I always think the latter is best. First, homesteading requires skills and skills take time to learn. Start learning and practicing those skills now and you'll be much better off later. Second, there's no reason to wait. Why spend a fortune on organic and grass fed food when you could be saving a lot of money by growing as much of your own food as possible? And the money you save can go into your homestead land fund, if you wish. This is how my family - and so many, many others - began their homesteading journey.

Also think about how you can make land that is considered less desirable (and is therefore less expensive) work for you. Anna Hess, author and well known homesteading blogger, bought land that's hard to get to in the winter; it was a disadvantage she was willing to deal with in order to afford homesteading in a rural area. My family and I are moving into a wooded area. Turns out, you don't need to knock down all the trees in order to homestead in the woods. (You just need a clearing for a dwelling and for your garden.) If money for land is a concern, consider that you may have to move where others don't want to live. Set some realistic priorities (within so many miles of town, a year round creek, etc.) but be flexible, too. Think and plan carefully. Roads and driveways should go in first; then utilities (including wells and septic systems). Remember that permitting can be way more expensive than you think. Actually, it will probably all cost more than you think.

A place for you to live must come before most other projects, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy or build a traditional house. Many homesteaders start off in a tiny house motor home, mobile home, or used manufactured home. (New manufactured homes often cost as much as modest stick built homes, especially if you use a construction company that offers a limited number of home models to choose from.) For some, these "temporary" dwellings will become permanent housing. For others, they are a place to live while they build something else.

Courtesy of Spedona and Wikipedia Commons.
Begin with a Garden
I always recommend homesteaders start by growing food. Don't make the garden huge if you've never gardened before, or you have experience only with a small garden - because you'll quickly become overwhelmed. If you're in the city or suburbs, start by growing edibles in among the ornamentals. Then try a small edible garden. Later, if you have room, you can expand a little each year.

If you have the space (and it doesn't necessarily take much), plant some fruit trees and shrubs as soon as possible. They will take a few years to start producing much food, so it's important to get them planted now. (There's an old saying that fruit trees are best planted 10 years ago.) However, do pay attention to the needs of the plants and the quirks of your particular property before you spend a bunch of money on trees. If you plant them in the wrong place, you'll delay their food-producing years - and might even kill them.

Learn to Preserve
Begin learning how to preserve food as soon as possible. It doesn't make much sense to have a huge garden or animals for eggs, milk, and meat unless you know what to do with all that food. At the very least, homesteaders should know how to freeze, can (including pressure can), and dehydrate foods.

Start with Small Livestock
Chickens are excellent starter livestock. They are cheap to buy, easy to care for, don't require a ton of your time, and will give you healthier, cheaper eggs than store bought. Once we are moved, one of the first things we'll do is re-establish our egg-laying flock.

Once you feel comfortable with chickens, consider what other animals you might want to add to your homestead. Meat chickens are a natural second critter; their care isn't exactly the same as egg layers because they have different feed requirements and (unless you raise a heritage breed) are so dumb they will drown in a bowl of water. But they certainly aren't overwhelming if you're used to caring for a laying flock.

After that, it's really up to you to decide what additional animals you want on your homestead, perhaps adding a new type each year until you have all your want.

For us, goats are a priority because we'll need them as brush eaters. And while we eventually want dairy goats, I don't think I'll attempt them right away because my research shows they are pretty labor intensive compared to other homestead animals. Pigs are another high priority for us. My husband loves pork, and it's impossible to find store bought pork that's raised in a healthy way. Pigs are pretty easy to raise if you buy piglets from someone else, but it still takes time and money to build them appropriate housing and fencing - and like so many homestead animals, you can usually only buy babies in the spring or fall. Eventually, we will probably add meat rabbits to our repertoire, and possibly some turkeys. A dog to keep cougars away and at least one cat to help with woodsy rodent populations obviously have to come early on, too. Whenever we add a critter, though, we will first consider how much more time and money it will take us to do so...and we'll always have our property prepared (housing, food, water sources) before bringing them home.
Courtesy wfmillar and Wikipedia Commons.

Off Grid Options
Many homesteaders long to live off grid. I don't necessarily have that desire, but I do believe that if we use less stuff that needs electricity or other energy sources, we'll save money and be better able to live the life we want. If you have off grid dreams, start small. Hang your laundry to dry. Do dishes by hand. Use a wood stove. Then, if you desire, gradually work toward more expensive projects. Just make sure they make sense for where you live. For example, we live where it's overcast much of the time; it wouldn't make sense to spend a lot of money on a solar energy project (although our tiny house motor home is already equipped this way). On the other hand, we have quite a bit of wind, so we might consider harnessing some wind energy.

Really, all this advice comes down to a handful of things:

1. Do your research.
2. Plan carefully and as financially accurately as possible.
3. Take on one project at a time.

I hope this helps you prioritize your homesteading journey!

Feb 2, 2016

7 Wonders of the World: A Homeschool or School Break Project

In any culture, there are certain things everyone is expected to know. In our culture, among those things are specific buildings or monuments, including "The 7 Wonders of the World." But don't worry; your kids will enjoy learning about these fascinating places! In fact, as a parent, I love this project, too. Not only does it allow my children to work on something together (rather than always working separately), but as my kids learn about these man made wonders, they also learn a bit about history and art, too. (And if you don't homeschool, this is still an excellent enrichment activity to do at home. A 7 Wonders of the World project would be a fantastic summer vacation experience!)

Seven Wonders of the World a Homeschool or School Break Project

Throughout history, there have been many "Wonders of the World" lists made, but when people mention the Wonders, they usually mean the list written by Greek poet Antipater, around 150 B.C. These Wonders were once a vital part of everyone's education, although many people today couldn't name even one. The Wonders are fascinating, though, and well worth knowing.

Then there's the modern "New 7 Wonders of the World," a list created (through public polling) by the New7Wonders Foundation based in Zurich, Switzerland. The list was announced in 2007, and covers more parts of the world than Antipater could have ever seen.

I'm also choosing to cover other famous places I think everyone should recognize at a glance - places like the Eiffel tower and the White House. If you desire, you might even want to cover The 7 Wonders of Nature, a list also created by the New7Wonders Foundation. But if all that seems overwhelming, start with the ancient wonders, and go from there.

Learning for Nearly Any Age
Learning about the Wonders can happen at almost any age, but I don't recommend it for kids younger than 7 simply because really young kids will have a difficult time truly appreciating the Wonders - how large they are/were, how incredible it is they were built at such an early period of history, etc. (However, if you want to include your preschooler in this project because your older kids are doing it, that's quite do-able. For each of the Wonders, I've listed one or more of the very best free coloring pages of each Wonder the Internet has to offer.)

Recommended Course
I recommend you work through one Wonder or site at a time. First, read a bit about it. I'm reading aloud The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World by Lynn Curlee, which I find perfect for my 7 and 10 year old; the illustrations are lovely and there is just enough text (but not too much) to keep the kids interested. If you want, however, you can use free Internet resources; most are geared toward teens and up, so you might need to pre-read and simply tell your younger kids about what you've read. You might also find this short page on the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World helpful, as well as this map showing where all the Ancient Wonders were. High schoolers, of course, can do their own research online or at the library.

My children are using the coloring pages I've linked to below to make a book about the Wonders. They simply write the name of the Wonder on top of the coloring page, then color the image. When they've gone through all the Wonders, they'll make a cover (this coloring page that puts all the ancient wonders together would be nice for that) and staple it all together in book form. My 10 year old is also writing a bit about each Wonder on a separate piece of paper. Young kids can trace a sentence or two about the Wonders, and teens can write a page (or more) about each,

Other Ideas for Studying the Wonders of the World
Another idea is to have kids create a travel brochure for one or more Wonder. Maybe you could choose a Wonder and take a virtual vacation there, using satellite images or even just photos. (My kids were amazed by Google's satellite images of the Great Pyramid at Giza; they spent nearly an hour zooming in and out and seeing every detail.)

If you want to expand this project further, you could have the children choose a Wonder and:

* make a model or diorama of it,
* make a poster all about it,
* do an oral report about it,
* or film a travel commercial for it.

Customize the project to suit your children's interests and needs!

Resources for Learning about The Wonders of the World 

The 7 Ancient Wonders of the World

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza:
* The Great Pyramid at Giza coloring page
* National Geographic page about the Great Pyramid 
* 10 Interesting Facts about The Great Pyramid
* Google Street View: The Great Pyramid of Giza

2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
* The Hanging Gardens of Babylon coloring pages
* The history of the Gardens
* 12 Key Facts about the Gardens
* The Telegraph: "The Real Site" of the Gardens might have been Nineveh

3. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
* The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus coloring page (also here)
* History of the temple
* More about the temple
* See the site of the temple

4. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia coloring pages.
* History of the statue
* Fun Facts about the statue

5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
* The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus coloring page.
* History of the Mausoleum
* More technical details of the Mausoleum

6. The Colossus of Rhodes
* The Colossus of Rhodes coloring page. (Also here.)
* History of The Colossus
* More info on The Colossus
* There is also a 1961 movie called The Colossus of Rhodes. (I have not seen it, so I recommend viewing it before letting your kids watch it.)

7. The Pharos (Lighthouse) at Alexandria
* The Pharos at Alexandria coloring pages.
* History of the Lighthouse
* 30 interesting facts about the Lighthouse

The New 7 Wonders of the World

1. The Great Wall of China
* The Great Wall of China coloring page. (Also here.)
* History Channel: The Great Wall of China (includes video documentaries)
* Photos and Facts about the Wall.
* Quick facts  
* Satellite view of the Wall 
* Video tour of the Wall.

2. Petra
* Petra coloring pages.
* National Geographic: Lost City of Petra Still Has Secrets 
* History of Petra (with some gorgeous photos) 
* American Museum of Natural History: Petra (with lots of articles)
* HD Video of Petra 

3. The Colosseum
* The Colosseum coloring page. (Also here.)
* History Channel: The Colosseum (includes video documentaries) 
* A short history of the Colosseum 
* See photos of what's underneath the Colosseum. 
* Google Street View of the Colosseum. 
* Video tour of the Colosseum.
* Torchlighters Video: Perpetua (an example of a Christian martyr in an area - although not the Colosseum specifically)

4. Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá coloring pages.
* National Geographic: Chichén Itzá
* Interesting Facts 
* Photos (click on the links on the left to see specific parts of the site)
* Satellite images
* HD Video Tour

5. Machu Picchu
* Machu Picchu coloring pages.
* National Geographic: Machu Picchu 
* History Channel: Machu Picchi (includes a video documentary)
* Fun Facts 
* Satellite view 
* Video tour

6. Taj Mahal
* Taj Mahal coloring page. (Also here.)
* History Channel: Taj Mahal (includes video documentary) 
* Official Taj Mahal website (includes photos, history, and more)
* Fun Facts
* Satellite view
* Video tour

7. Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer coloring page.
* Facts about the statue
* More facts
* Satellite view

Other Famous Landmarks to Know

* Big Ben coloring pages.

* Easter Island Statues (Moai) coloring pages.

* Eiffel Tower coloring page. (Also here.)

* Empire State Building coloring pages.

* Golden Gate Bridge coloring pages.

* The Great Sphinx coloring pages.

* Leaning Tower of Pisa coloring page.

* Mount Rushmore coloring page. (Also here.)

* Statue of Liberty coloring pages.

* St. Louis Arch coloring page. (Also here.)

* Stonehenge coloring pages.

* Sydney Opera House coloring page. (Also here.)

* Tower of London coloring pages.

* St. Basil's Cathedral coloring pages.

* The White House coloring page.

* The Pentagon coloring page.

* The Capital Building coloring pages.

* Washington Monument coloring pages.

* Lincoln Memorial coloring pages.

All images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Jan 30, 2016

Weekend Links

In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page.

FIRST, A THANK YOU: This is a very stressful time for me. One of my chief hormone-balancing medicines is not available anywhere due to manufacturing issues, plus I'm struggling mightily with one of my children, plus I'm desperately trying to get our house fixed up so we can get it on the market NOW. (There is a deadline coming up, which I hope to explain to you later.) And whatever "extra" money we had (did we have any extra??) is all going into the house. That makes things super challenging all around. So I want to give a very warm THANK YOU to those who support this blog's advertisers and buy things through its Amazon links. That little bit of extra income makes SUCH a BIG difference to my family. Thank you, thank you!

* A Valentine's Day Freebie: Love Bingo, which teaches your kids about God's love. (The same link also has some cute "Average Boy" Valentine's cards you can print out.)

* For those of you who are nursing, an alternative to cover up blankets

* My hubby finally came down with the bug everyone at his work has had. What with all the packing and painting I MUST do, I don't have time to get sick, so I'm making my anti cold and flu remedy (and fighting the cold tea for hubs). 

* Scientists Crack a 50-Year Old Mystery about the Measles Vaccine. 

* A ketogenic diet (very low carb) may treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases. 

* I knew there was a good reason I rarely make the bed!  

* What previous generations knew about being a great parent.

Oldies But Goodies:

* How to do Less Laundry. 
* Are You Using Too Much Laundry Detergent?
* How to Plan a Small Vegetable Garden. 
* Learn which fruits and veggies are most pesticide laden and how to grow them yourself! 5 stars on Amazon. Written by yours truly.

Jan 28, 2016

How to Easily Remove Stains from Carpet - Without Chemicals!

Each stain on our carpet is a memory. There's the long, rectangular stain in the hallway from when  years old? No way.
my husband cooked a frozen Hungry Man dinner for me (immediately after my first C-section), only to drop it on the carpet. There's the little drops near the living room window where my son's sippy cup dripped apple juice. There's the large circular stain next to the couch where my husband spilled his coffee one Sunday morning. But these are memories I'd rather not have glaring at me from the floor each day, and over the years, I've tried many, many times to get rid of them. I've shampooed the rug, only to have the stains reappear, as if by magic. I've spot cleaned with a wide assortment of store bought cleaners that promised to do the trick, but didn't. So when I saw a Pinterest post claiming all I needed was water to remove our carpet stains, I was skeptical. Yeah sure, maybe that would work if the stain were fresh. But stains that are

Then we started prepping our house to sell. We don't have money to replace the carpet, so what could we do to make the carpet really clean? Hmmm...I remembered that Pinterest post (from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam). It was worth a try, right? Right! So far, it's worked on every carpet stain I've treated.

How to Remove Stains from Carpet Using Water

You will need:

Several white cloths (I use old flour sack towels, which are quite absorbent, but any white, non-print cloth should do)
Plastic shopping bag or a piece of plastic wrap
Heavy object (I use a few fat books)

For Older Stains:
A series of stains on my carpet. Who knows what caused this!
1. Pour water on the stain - enough to fully saturate the affected area.
Pour ordinary tap water onto the stains.
2. Blot the stain with the white cloth. Do not rub. Just lay the cloth over the stain and press down on it. As the cloth becomes saturated, use another part of the cloth, or a different cloth.
You can see the stains beginning to come off onto the cloth.
3. Keep blotting until you can no longer see the stain on the carpet. (With really stubborn stains, you may need to add more water and blot a little longer.)

4. Cover the wet area with a fresh white cloth, folded on itself several times. Cover the cloth with the plastic bag, and then place several heavy books on top. Leave in place until the next day.
I still have a few books I've haven't yet packed!
5. The next day, remove the books, bag, and cloth. The carpet should be dry and no trace of the stain should remain. AND...the stain will not return!
Ta-da! The stains are gone! (And they haven't come back.)
For Fresh Stains:

1. As soon as something gets spilled on the carpet, blot the stain with a white cloth until it no longer absorbs whatever's been spilled.

2. Follow steps 1 -5, above.

Why It Works

Why does water get rid of carpet stains when other cleaners do not? When you spill something on carpet, it will often soak through to the back of the carpet - and sometimes even into the pad underneath the carpet. Even though you clean the spilled substance until you can't see it on the surface of the carpet, some of it is still on or under the carpet. This substance gradually wicks up through the carpet fibers, reappearing on the surface.

So the only way to get rid of the stain is to remove the spilled substance from the underside of the carpet. By hydrating the carpet again and blotting it, the spilled substance rapidly wicks up to the surface. Blotting until you can't see a stain on the surface of the carpet brings up a lot of that substance, but forcing the wicking to continue overnight (by placing an absorbent cloth and some heavy books on top of it) gets out any remaining substance.

Jan 26, 2016

How Many Hours Did You Work For That?

How Many Hours Did You Work for That
Back in the 90s, I read a life-altering book called Your Money or Your Life. One of the concepts in the book that I'd never heard before was learning what everything you buy truly costs. No, I don't mean in dollars. I mean in "blood, sweat, and tears." I mean in terms of being away from the people and things that really matter. I mean in LIFEtime. In other words: How long do you have to work to pay for whatever item you're considering buying?

This is a completely life-altering way to look at things. For example, now when I don't feel like cooking and I'm tempted to order pizza delivery, I consider how many hours I have to work to pay for that pizza...And ouch. Maybe pizza doesn't sound so great, after all.

Even if, as a Proverbs 31 woman, you don't work for money, you can consider how long your husband has to work to pay for an item. Let's say he earns $18 an hour after taxes and the cable plan you're looking into costs $65 a month (an average price, according to the FCC). How many hours of his life does he have to give away in order to pay for television programming each month? 3.6 hours.

Now let's say you want to buy a new tv to go along with that cable. When I search tvs on Amazon, the very first thing that comes up is a Samsung 32 inch LED for $166.97. That seems like a good price, so let's go with it. To buy this television, your husband would have to give away 9.3 hours of his life - assuming you pay cash and don't incur credit card interest, in which case he'll sacrifice more of his life to pay for that tv.

Now it's up to you (and your spouse) to decide if the true cost of those items is worth it.*

In 2016, I challenge you to adopt this way of thinking. If you're like the average American, I'm betting it will save you thousands! And if you teach it to your children, they will have a huge head start when it comes to managing their finances.

* And if you want an even more accurate look at things, first figure your true wage by subtracting all the expenses incurred in order to have the job - things like fuel, clothing, vehicle maintenance, etc.