No, I’m not dead….

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I’ve been a wee bit busy though.

In Alaska, when spring hits…..it’s “Go Time!!”

With 100 frost-free days you’ve got to be on the ball, come ‘Hell or High Water,’ OR ya might as well waddle your ass back into the cave because you’re destined to eat the truck-ripen produce at the store that has literally been sitting in the back for a month. Sorry.

From planting the garden in May, to fussing with it most of June, we make damn certain all the little plants get off to a good start. Finally!…The foundation for summer is set..you can breathe for a minute. Enjoy.

In July, for the last two years I’ve traveled 200+ miles to fish for Sockeye Salmon. The most delicious, and sot after, of the salmon species. AND in Alaska, only residents get to catch them with a big ass net!! Yee haw! This year I spent 3 out of the 4 weekends on the Kenai peninsula. This is the first real bite of summer.

I really enjoy dip netting from the beach with the sun and the sand. In the end, my chest waders are full of water, I have sand in my hair and I’m slimed from head to toe, but I have a kick ass tan and a grin from ear to ear.

August is harvesting the garden, berry picking, purchasing extra produce to put up in the pantry. And a bit of time to relax before the push to the end.

September, if you’re not tracking a big ass moose 30 miles from the nearest road, you better be cleaning out the garden because snow is looming.

October to the end of the year, I’m trying desperately to slide through the Holidays without scalping anyone. So, I experiment in my kitchen and write…here with you. 😉

Gotta go!! Just stopped in for a minute!

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This is a blog I follow. It freaks me out most of the time, but having my head in the sand is not an option.

Get educated!

askmarion

A political website that contained stinging criticism of the Obama administration and its handling of the Fast and Furious scandal was ordered to be shut down by the Obama campaign’s ‘Truth Team’, according to private investigator Douglas Hagmann, who was told by ISP GoDaddy his site contained information that was “maliciously harmful to individuals in the government.”

Hagmann, CEO of Hagmann Investigative Services, Inc., a private investigative agency serving a roster of Fortune 500 clients, was given 48 hours by GoDaddy to find a new home for his website before it was deleted.

Hagmann was told the reason for the shutdown was because the website featured “morally objectionable” material… Hmmm guess that means too much inconvenient truth for Holder and Obama? After GoDaddy refused to identify the complainant, only saying that it was not “any official government agency,” further investigation by Hagmann revealed that the order came from a group…

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Is it time to throw the cellphone in the lake???

askmarion

Some fun and strange old vehicles… but at least they didn’t spy on you (See information on the ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’  bill below)

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Your Car Set To Become Part of ‘The Internet of Things’

Transportation bill orders implementation of ‘Vehicle to Infrastructure Communication System’

by Paul Joseph Watson

A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be ratified by the House not only mandates black box tracking devices in all new cars, it also orders the deployment of ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ communication systems,

Your Car Set To Become Part of The Internet of Things driving carAlthough introduced and , Senate BIll 1813, entitled ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’ (MAP-21), is expected to be passed by the Republican-controlled House because of its numerous revenue generating provisions.

However, the bill is stuffed full of nightmare big government regulations, including empowering the IRS to revoke passports of accused tax delinquents as…

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An Adventure in Soap

Powdered Laundry Soap

Day 3 of Spring break, the boys and I needed to get the HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE.

I was going stir cRaZy!!!

The DH was working on crown molding so I couldn’t even play with him or in the kitchen. **Bleh**

So………………..

What to do…..what to do…what to DO!!??

I decided to make laundry soap!!! 😀

[Side Bar: After a little more research on the the net, I started a Little Black Book of recipes.

Believing we’re not going to have all modern conveniences available to us; whether it be through hyper inflation (I’m consistently seeing 20-30%), a complete collapse of the economy by other means or an attack on our electronic infrastructure. Eventually, we are going to have to rely on our collective knowledge or written resources.

What happens when ‘the net’ is gone?

Do you have enough knowledge accumulated to do it on your own?

I don’t.

Therefore, I’ve been researching and collecting books considered to be the “Bible” on a specific topic. Now, having added my new Lil’ B.B. for anything that doesn’t require a whole book, I should be on the road to a nice little library.]

So…..Powdered Laundry Soap

1 bar of grated soap (Ivory, Zote, Fels-Naptha or your own special blend)

1 cup of Borax

1 cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

*************

Jumping in the truck, we’re all off to Walmart to get out of the house, and out of his hair.    😀

I didn’t care if I just walked the damn isles for an hour or two watching people.

Doing just that, I over heard a older couple bickering at each other not being able to find whatever item. Thinking “…if he would just shut up and listen to her they would probably find it….she IS a woman in the HOUSEWARES department. Just imagine if they were in hardware and SHE was giving him that much shit……..”

Over hearing a snippet of someone’s life is very centering and peaceful, realizing that other people get just as frustrated shopping with their spouse.

***********

I finally grabbed two boxes of Borax along with some other products to make basic cleaners, like white vinegar and ammonia. They were out of A&H washing soda and didn’t have any laundry bar soap. So I was forced to hit another store on the way home.

Fred Meyers on a Sunday….YEAH!!!!  Not.

I did find the Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar and the washing soda, Thank God!

Not, might have ruined my “burn some energy and relax” zen moment I was trying desperately to achieve. Dealing with all the yahoos on the weekend is NOT my cup of tea. They are scarey on the road, in the parking lot AND in the isles.

Not to mention…I was so PROUD, I got out of there without buying a bag of Cheetos Puffs…

I LOVE me some Puffs, but this gal makes me say…………WTF??? Really??

In tribute, my next “Adventure in Soap” will be an infused bath bar….

I think she’s going to have some serious scrubbing to do!! Can you imagine?

Geez!!!!

**************

Hauling all the bags inside, I get a side ways look from the Hubby as he’s still laying across the counter with nail gun in hand.

I return it with my REFINED raised eyebrow look….and he falters.

***Uh huh, that’s what I thought! Just let me be, I won’t blow up the kitchen, I swear.***

In the end, being on hand for the “Honey, can you hold this?” OR “Can you shoot that?” Saved both of us a lot of frustration.  😀

****************

This recipe is SO easy, it takes more time to gather your gadgets then it does to actually make the soap.

***And if I could shoot pictures worth a damn, I wouldn’t have to delete 95% of them. THANK GOD FOR DIGITAL!***

I used a grater to breakdown the bar and tried out the immersion blender I got for my birthday. In the next batch I’ll continue with the grater and use the food processor instead, only because it has a little higher capacity.

As the directions state (which I am often accused of not following) I should now put all this grated soap in a bowl and mix with a spoon until its the texture of a course “meal.”

Ya, ok…if I didn’t have something better to do like….

…cleaning bathrooms….

When the time comes, I am fully versed in the use of a spoon. However since we still have modern conveniences….

I’ll throw it in a handi-chopper thingy!!!

The result is nicely chopped up, but not nearly as fine as I would like.

So, I throw in a cup of Borax to help achieve a finer grind.

…..add more gratings…..

hit TURBO, and 30 seconds later…..

Before                                                                               After

Much better!

Pouring my Borax and soap into a steel bowl, I mix in the remaining cup of washing soda.

It almost looks edible…..like a lemon pudding mix.

This recipe fits nicely into a quart jar and it says to use one tablespoon per load of laundry. Which equates to about 47 loads. At Alaska prices…..the batch cost me $2.57. That’s between $0.05 – $0.06/load.

I won’t bore you with the “mustard test” although this recipe competes neck and neck with “Tide with Bleach Alternative”

However, what disappointed me and didn’t “pencil out” was…………………

If I washed our clothes in Tide, it would cost me $0.21/load, which is a GREAT savings. However, I’ve been buying BioKleen for lets say $10.75 a box. Which is about $0.11/load.

My dilemma; is it worth it?? 47 loads is about a months worth of laundry to me.

Then of course I got to thinking about the details.

I know the dry recipe is basically the same as the liquid recipe except that it makes 10 FREAKIN’ GALLONS. I’m not sold on dealing with 5 gallons worth of soap at a time, or finding a place for a million little bottles. That’s why I wanted the DRY. (Liquid: Duggar Family “19+ and counting”)

BUT……..it just doesn’t make sense.

Looking at the liquid recipe: (The dry is dissolved into 10 gallons of water….basically)

1280oz divided by ½ cup = 320 loads for a top loaded washer ($0.008/load)

1280oz divided by ¼ cup = 640 loads for a front loaded washer ($0.004/load)

Less the a cent a load!!!

Figuring Mrs. Duggar knows her laundry soap, bless her heart…. either I need to be using closer to a QUARTER TEASPOON per load or the dry recipe is HIGHLY over soaping laundry.

Someone throw me a bone and help a sista’ out!!

You’d think diluting it THAT MUCH would damage its effectiveness, but you can’t beat “kid tested” detergent with a stick.

ANYWHO…………I’m off like a crazy woman!

Feed back greatly appreciated.

Dry Recipe found HERE:

http://www.diynatural.com/simple-easy-fast-effective-jabs-homemade-laundry-detergent/

STOP drinking the damn Kool Aid!!!

I am not a “shopper.” I get 95% of my needs met at Costco. I pay them a quart of my husband’s blood and I am DONE.

(I just figured is 5% of his annual gross income. OUCH! Love You HONEY!!!)

Today, being 35 miles away from the nearest Costco, I cheated… I grabbed the few items I needed from another local food warehouse and Walmart.

I KNOW!!! Walmart SUCKS! But as a said…. I CHEATED!

It wasn’t worth it….and by the time I got home I felt horrible; frustrated and angry at myself.

I know I shouldn’t have done it. I should’ve waited until I went into Anchorage on Friday, then the Hubby and I could have done Costco together.

***snicker***

This is what I learned and what is currently plaguing my brain:

Our “pound” of locally roasted coffee use to be 14oz  and about $8.00, which I always thought was a crock and never bought. BUT…. this morning, its 12oz and approximately $9.00.

If I just did the math right that’s a 24% INCREASE per ounce of coffee.

What???!!!!

Oh, it gets better.

So, I stop by Walmart.  They are the cheapest place to purchase…..um…….

…..

TAMPONS. *** Ok, I said it….let’s move on.***

Bare bones basic…..none of that fancy pretty stuff.

Those little puppies used to be under $5 a box….lets say $4.57.

This morning, $6.57. A 31% increase per ………………………tampon.

Are you understanding?

Do not believe what you hear!!!The economy is NOT gradually getting BETTER. Stop drinking the damn Kool-Aid.

YOU ARE THE FROG IN THE SOUP POT!

 

******ok, if you don’t believe me….fine.  Just wait and see what happens when women stop being able to afford their coffee and tampons.******

Ya feel me now????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Confessions of a SUCKY Housewife…

a.k.a….. Learning to be Betty.

Why Betty?? Martha’s a pain in the…….. fanny.

AND when has it EVER been fun to be around a MARTHA? Really?

BETTY has always been da BOMB!!!

So here I go….

In a nutshell, the way things penciled out for me growing up, I became a Half Earth Muffin/Half Spoiled Brat with a big ol’ splash of flakiness.

AND………………..I HATE CLEANING!!!

I have absolutely no freaking idea how to manage a clean house from day to day. My mother, a former “Betty,” turned in her apron and heels when she got knocked up with me…Number 5.  ALL GIRLS.

***The only reason I’m alive to tell the story? Number 4 was too scared of my father to strangle me in my sleep.***

So with that, this is what I learned from my mother, who had only been working as a school nurse a year longer then I’d been a live.

1. Clean your plate

2. The weekends are for cleaning and laundry.

3. Kids have chores: they do the cleaning and Mom does all the laundry for 7 on Sunday.  (At this point, I was too young for chores and when I was old enough … SHTF in other areas)

4. Dinners MUST HAVE a salad, starch, protein and a dessert.

5.  All dishes are done in the evening, by kids.

6. Parents never have fun.

So, I married a man who’s the complete opposite; laid back, fun, loving AND… I will forsake all others when he’s home from work. My friends can attest to this, I suck at returning phone calls, making plans and even just answering my cellphone.

(Yes, I’m a Sloper’s Wife…two on/two off)

***For all that do not live in Alaska, he works in the oil fields on the “North Slope,” 1500 miles away.***

Which also means when Daddy’s home IT’S PLAY TIME!!!

I DESPERATELY STRUGGLE with this….I would much rather blow off my chores and hang with him and usually I do.

Having been “home” for four years now, I can not seem to figure out how to not get overwhelmed and defeated with housework.  Being bored out of my mind during the week, I do not watch daytime TV, afraid I’d get addicted.  Instead I fill my time with “cleaning in circles,” as I commonly refer to it, or experimenting with X, or blogging, or Facebook, or ….busy work.

I never REALLY seem get too much accomplished.

Of course there are those days when I’m going to “get control of this house!!” and burn out shortly thereafter for trying to do the whole thing in a day or two. Looking at areas I haven’t even touched; frustration sets in.

The house is always cluttered with a growing population of dust bunnies.

Always feeling like the boys are horrible little mess makers and no body cares that I want a nice pretty house.  Since I’m the only female in it, it feels like a losing battle. I find myself saying SCREW IT more often then not.  To the point that laundry is done on a “As Needed Basis,” then it mostly lives in baskets because no body wants to put away a  mountain of laundry.

FRUSTRATION has been a part of my life for as long time. This last year has been particularly stressful and I changed from being an overbearing, micro managing Mom to….Screw it, I’m just going to have fun and not worry about it.

Well, that sure as hell didn’t help anything on the home front. If you catch my drift.

I’ve read about a million cleaning techniques.

I LOVE the Fly Lady, but could never really get ‘flying.’ I had a hard time seeing the big picture. She wants me to ‘shine my sink,’ build a ‘Control Journal’ one page per day and take painstaking small steps to get my house in order??

Ummm…..Doesn’t work for me, Honey.

PLUS…ya think I really need yet another person sending me an email every morning telling me what to do? GEEEZ!!!

I DID start to build that ‘Journal’ once and the Hubby laughed at me. After I’d already decimated half a rainforest worth of printer paper. Saying….

“What do you need that thing for? You just need to have a routine.”

***From the guy you can freaking set your watch to at 6:30 in the morning***

Some mornings I’ll be lucky to get deodorant under BOTH arms. Don’t laugh. I’m not kidding, mornings will be the death of me.

Any who, so this is what I have learned over the last 5 days:

Home management for an “Stay-At-Home-Mom” is NOTHING like  management for a working Mom and it’s something that has to be taught.

Women love to make things pretty, but it certainly has to be clean before it can be pretty.

One day at a time, but a little bit everyday…seems to be working

****OK! I admit… I’m PRETTY slow on the up take, at times****

On my “Epiphany Day”  I drew out a 4-week schedule on a simple sheet of lined paper and started plugging in which chores needed to be done once or twice a week.  For example:

Daily Chores: Laundry – Washed, Dried and put away. Kitchen – Cleaned to a shiny counter and sink emptied.

Mondays – Vacuum, Sweep or Mop Floors on 2nd Level, Tuesdays – are for once a month chores that have been neglected, Wednesdays – appointments/ groceries/errands, Thursdays – 2nd Level floors again, Fridays – 3 Bathrooms used daily,  Saturdays – Vacuuming the 3rd Floor, Clean Bedrooms and Plan for the Week. This gives the kids a set day to pick up their room. Before, I’d just bug them when it got bad, but no one likes to clean a room when its THAT BAD.  Sundays – I get to cook or show the boys something.  A relaxed fun day. Probably a good day to wipe down the range and clean the microwave.

This sheet of paper I slid into a plastic sheet protector and taped it to the fridge.  With a dry erase marker I can mark off the chores daily or quickly make changes to the schedule because I did it in pencil. It’s not set in stone, it’s fluid…

…and I think it’ll work.

To put it in perspective, it was far easier for me to quit smoking after 20 years then keep my home in order. I’ve always known I’ve done better with structure, but who makes a wife’s structure? A wife who had pretty much no structure after age 10.

Me?

I’ve completed Day 4 and although some days are a little overwhelming, I started with a LOT of work ahead of me, by my own doing.

Chores FIRST, play SECOND………….this is one of my guilty pleasures. 🙂

So, a little of me, where I’m coming from and what I’m doing…

Cross your fingers.

Yogurt begets yogurt

Extremely simple and you don’t even need a yogurt machine, although they do have heat cycles to promote optimum growth.

Using a newly opened carton of milk I’ve forgone the step of reheating the milk (yet again) to boiling and then letting it cool to 100*-110* F…It’s a pain in the a**.     I’ve forgotten a batch on the stove overnight (waiting for it to cool) more often than I’d like to admit 😀

Not to mention, technically, isn’t it more likely to collect bacteria while you wait for it to cool?

Therefore, I pull a sealed carton out of the fridge while I start making dinner and then after dinner is done and cleaned up…I remove the seal, add the culture from either a commercial starter OR a previous batch, mixy-mixy, ladle the milk into the cup, snap on lids…

…and put the yogurt on to “cook” overnight. I “cook” mine for a whole 24hours.

It’s is truly that simple.

As a result, I have Greek style yogurt for $0.71 per 7 oz cup.

This is our creation, the kids and I call it a Yogurt Sundae, it includes:

– One 7oz cup of the plain yogurt

-A handful of pecans, almonds or any one of your favorite nuts

-A tablespoon or two of milled flax seed (carried at Costco)

-A handful of frozen blueberries (not shown here cuz we were out :D)

-A drizzle of honey

That’s all folks!!

~Off like a crazy woman!!