or, "You're a full time homemaker? What do you do all day long?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Operation Scary Garage

Before: View 1 - Unbelievable chaos 

Before: View 2 - You'd think a tornado had blown through here
     I had been praying about my scary garage for years. The piles of "stuff" all over that God-forsaken place were enough to send me to the funny farm. I would worry during my pregnancies that I would trip and fall over things on my way to the spare refrigerator we keep out there. Tim is not one to give anything away. He seems to have odd emotional attachments to all sorts of things. He's also been a math and science teacher for 20+ years and gets free textbooks from his school - boxes of them.   He has a hard time refusing anything of value that's FREE. So, I don't even bother trying to convince him to give stuff away anymore.
     He was away visiting his mother last week with our littlest, "underfoot" girls. This had been my opportunuity to get "down and dirty" with that desperately overcrowded and incredibly disorganized garage. I ended up organizing most of the garage and throwing away A LOT of trash. I also established structure and order within the garage. In each different area there needs more organization, but at least all of the tools are in one place and all of the text books are in another place. 
     It was back breaking, dirty work. My feet and arms ached at night. It was about 10 hours of solid moving, sorting, throwing away, and scavenging neighbors' trash cans for more room for my extra trash.  It was, however, incredibly gratifying! When Tim saw it he was amazed and happy that I had organized things well and cleared so much space out of the garage. When he saw all of his textbooks in one place, he mentioned the ones I could get rid of - unbelievable! I mentioned to him that I really wanted to park my car in the garage. After I get rid of a few more things that is a reality. Hello easy grocery unloading!
After: View 1 - my car is awaiting its new home

After: View 2 - large appliances awaiting removal soon

     The temptation before this vacation from my little ones, with hours of uninterrupted quiet time during the day, was to catch up on some "must see" movies, read a whole lot of  books, and take a leisurely trip to the Huntington Gardens or some other relaxing place. I could have totally justified it. But I felt God urging me on, This is what you've prayed for. This will give you far more rest in the future. The time has come NOW.
     Indeed it had come. Tim and I are ecstatic with the results and the peace and rest in my spirit has far exceeded the movies I'll eventually get to. And you know what? Elena and I had a fabulous adventure in Downtown the next day. We ate yummy dim sum in Chinatown, spent hours at the Central Library where I picked up, and read, a couple of wonderful books, and then had a leisurely lunch at the Bonaventure Hotel overlooking all of LA. It was a sweet reward for hard work done well. Thank you, Lord. Only you could've  prompted the willingness, stamina, and vision for that project. Now, we need to have a little chat about that basement....
All cleaned up and enjoying a wonderful lunch at the Bonaventure Hotel

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lovin' Low Cost Laundry Detergent

     Here it is folks- a fabulous recipe of low cost, environmentally-friendly, and EFFECTIVE ingredients for homemade laundry soap. I've been using this concotion of laundry items for several months now and have been very happy. I searched high and low for all these products and finally found them at my local ACE Hardware store and a little cheaper at my local Albertson's. 
     The Fels-Naptha (so hard to remember that funky name!) soap is simply remarkable at stain removal. This includes stains on white canvas shoes, paint on jeans, and various stains that just won't wash out with regular methods. I found this recipe on this super-cool blog Although I don't know the exact cost breakdown, the lady on this blog did it and found this laundry detergent to be much cheaper than regular store bought laundry detergent. (I'll take her word for it and spare myself the math minutia!) This detergent also works just fine with my top-loading washing machine that can only use low-sudsing detergent.
     The one minor downside to this recipe is that I need to use my cheese grater or food processer to shred the soap. The grater and processor parts wash out the soap just fine, however. I try to make a big batch at a time because I easily do about 8-10 loads of laundry a week. One upside to this recipe is that I've started using Borax for many of my cleaning chores. The list of uses on the box was so proific that I cut part of the box out and posted it near my cleaning supplies! I have been especially pleased with how excellent it is in washing dried food and liquid "crusties" off my kitchen table without having to use bleach-based products like Comet or Ajax. 
     These new- found products have given me more enthusiasm about my cleaning tasks. Whatever helps, I say!