Friday, February 24, 2012

Thrifty is nifty!!

I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be thrifty...I'm sure that most of the people who know me would agree with that:)  Believe it or not, it's happening though!!  I don't know what's gotten in to me, but I have to say that it's kinda fun.  It started with the whole couponing thing and has now spilled over into other areas of my life.  About 6 months ago I made my own liquid laundry soap (see recipe posted below).  I just thought I'd try it and see how it works.  I found everything I needed at Kroger and it only took about 30 minutes to make it...very easy!!  It can be used in HE washing machines and works as well as anything else I've ever used...and the best part, it cost less than $10 to make 10 gallons!!!  I'm guessing, with what I still have left, that it will last me another four or five months!  I can honestly say that I will never go back to buying detergent at the store...I'd rather save the money for some really cute shoes anyway:)  I also purchased some lavender essential oil at The Vitamin Shoppe in Columbus for scent (, but you don't have to do that.

The great thing is that I still have plenty of Borax, washing soda and lavender to make at least a couple more 10 gallon batches.  The only thing I'll have to buy before making some more is a Fels Naptha bar, which is only $1.39.  So if you math people run the numbers, it's really costing even less that what I said.  Also, I went to Lowe's and bought a 5 gallon bucket to store it in and held onto a few of my old laundry detergent containers to refill (half water and half homemade detergent).  Some people have asked where I store the 5 gallon bucket...I just keep it on the counter covered with a towel next to my washer in my laundry room.  Someone told me that I could get a lid in the paint department for the bucket so I'm going to do that!!  That's really about all there is to it...seriously, it's great!!

So in my continual countdown to 40, I'm working on being more thrifty...not only for the savings financially, but also to focus on using more natural ingredients and staying away from the harsh chemicals used in so many products.  My next project is homemade fabric softener and dish soap...before you know it, I'll be making my own clothes...OK, probably not:)  Happy laundry soap making!!  

The Duggar Family - Duggar Recipes :: Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day...the gift of love and life

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted:

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up:

A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing:

A time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and a time to sew; and a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Eccl. 3:1-8
The front of the program at my mom's funeral...Eccl. 3:1-8

My mom and dad on the night they got engaged

My mom and dad right after my older brother David was born
Too funny!!  Oh my Word!!

I got my love of talking on the phone from her for sure:)

My beautiful mom....the last picture I have of her before she died

Most people associate Valentine's Day with romance, love, flowers, chocolate, gifts, etc.  In 1985, on February 14, Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning of 'love' for me.  That's the day I lost my mom...although she was not officially pronounced deceased until Feb. 18,  the reality is that she never woke up from the accident which happened on Valentine's Day.  I remember those few days 27 years ago like they were yesterday....from the the first night when we spent all night at the hospital unsure of what had really happened or how serious it my dad sitting my brothers and I down in the living room of our house on Briarcliff street in Bethany, OK to tell us that it didn't look like my mom was going to make sitting around the conference table at the hospital with the pastor to find out she was no longer with us.  It was like a really bad dream that I never would wake up from.  As a twelve year old girl,  I lost the woman in my life who had cared for and nurtured me from the day I was born.  My life on that day was forever altered.  Although many years have passed, when I think back on that day, I can still feel an ache so deep it hurts.  It's the type of pain I would never wish on anyone.

The years following my mom's death are a blur and sometimes still hard to remember.  I know that when something tragic happens, especially at such a formidable age,  that can often be the case.  As a teenage girl, I needed my mom more than anything.  I think to most people looking in from the outside, I probably seemed like I was doing just fine.  I laughed and smiled a lot, kept busy, and did my fair share of rebelling too:)  My dad remarried almost a year to the day of my moms death and again, from the outside, all seemed well...the Rothwells were moving on.  The truth is that on the inside, things were not fine....I was dying to have my mom back and to have a "normal" family.

I got married and moved away at a young age, maybe unconsciously hoping I could escape the pain of my junior high and high school years.  I remember going to visit my grandparents in Tyler, TX that first year of marriage and my grandmother giving me a memory album she had put together of some of my mother's pictures, letters, etc.  It is a prized possession that I am so thankful to have.  In the album is a letter that my mother wrote to her parents just a week or so before she died.  I have read it many times and laugh and cry each time I do.  It is long, but I want to share a little piece of it and my mom with you...

Dear Dad and Mom,
Hope this letter finds you both doing well.  All is well up here in snow country.  I think that I shall never want to see another oz. of snow as long as I live.  It has really been something.  The streets will get slushy during the day and then freeze at night making taking the children to school and going to work a true experience.
The kids are all doing very well.  They received their report cards last week and all have 3.5 grade averages and all three are in honors courses.  I guess the thing that amazes me the most is that Katie is in Honors Math.  She does exceptionally well.  You would not believe their questions.  Even Paul gets stumped on some of them.  It is really the strangest thing-the only course that they ask my help in is spelling-imagine that.   I am constantly going to the bottom of the stairs and yelling "either turn down the stereo or else"-Paul and I know when to do this as the drapes in the den are standing straight out from the wall.  I can look in the boys room and Timmy is sitting at his desk writing away and his head is just a bobbing up and down like a yo-yo.  He'll go on like this for a few seconds then he'll have a 'spas' attack and start drumming his finger and pencils on the desk.  The he'll calm down and go back to bobbing his head up and down.  Now note this is all done to extremely loud music.  Yet I can go over and tap him on the shoulder and he'll bounce off the ceiling 6 times.  Can you figure it?  Now David sits at the kitchen table-he is up and down out of his chair watching whatever we're watching on the t.v.-yet he maintains an A average.  Katie, on the other hand, lays on the bed and somehow pulls out a 3.5 average while talking on the phone for 2 hours at a time.  Now tell me what possibly can be talked about for 2 hrs?  Void that question.  However two weeks ago she got herself grounded for 2 weeks because she and a bunch of girls and boys went over to this boys house to listen to records till after dark then shows up at the gym at 7:00 for David's basketball game.  I was near frantic and Paul was ready to call the police.  She say's "I forgot to call-y'all said I could stay at school till David's game and watch the first 2 girls games."  We said "yes we did, but you weren't to leave they grounds."  So this was why she got herself grounded.  Katie is a precious gal, but I don't know about the coming years.  She is a very well liked girl in her school and although this is good, it still worries us.  All we can do is to try to stay on top of the situation.  Paul and I count ourselves as being two of the luckiest parents alive.  We so love our 3 children!

She goes on to talk about a few other things and ends with telling my grandparents how much she loves and appreciates them and how special they are to her.  Wow!  I love having memories of her to hold onto...and BTW, I think that was probably the first of many groundings for me:)

It was a year after receiving the memory album from my grandparents that I held my firstborn son in my arms and I, for the first time, understood the love of a mother.  There's nothing like it!   At every milestone in my life, I've yearned for my mom to be there. I know she would have loved being a grandma.  I have often longed for a mother to call and talk to about my life like others do with theirs.  With Cody's graduation coming up, I so wish she could be here.  I have had women over the years that have stepped in and been mother figures in my life and for that I am so thankful and blessed....but no one could ever replace the love that I know my mom had for me...because I know how deeply I love my own children.  I'm sure I would have disappointed her at times over the years if she were still here, but I would hope she would be proud of who I am today.

Valentine's Day is a day set apart to show our love to the special "one" in our life, but for me it's so much more.  Valentine's Day to me is a reminder that life itself is a gift... and the fact that I have the privilege to love and be loved makes it worth it.  On this Valentine's Day I want to invest more in the people I love because time is more precious than anything else I can give them.  It's not about getting gifts and candy, but about giving all of myself to the ones I love...on Valentine's Day...and every day.  I'm thankful for the 12 years that I did have with my mom and will continue to cherish the memories.  Have a great Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Cleaning out the closet!!

Before....yep, it was bad!

Organized scarves
Clean closet....still have more I'm working on, but it's much better:)  And yes, that's a shoe bench that my boys recycled and gave to me for Mother's Day:)

My closet has been a ridiculous mess and it's been driving me crazy!!  Every time I go in there to look for something I'm tripping over things and digging in piles to find what I'm looking for.  I've been slowly, but surely, working on organizing it (like I always am), but it's kind of an overwhelming task to me.  I've been trying to get rid of things I never wear and find better ways to keep everything organized.  I am still working on weeding through my closet and finding more to get rid of because I KNOW there is so much I never ever wear!!  My problem is that, as I get rid of stuff,  I accumulate more!!!  Yes, I know how that's a problem:)  The good news is that I've put myself on a shopping budget (see my budget post) so I am not spending like I used too, which has been great for me.  I know that I don't NEED any more stuff...I just love shoes and clothes!!  The crazy thing is that I hold onto things that I think I need, when reality is, I'll probably never wear them again and I definitely don't need them!  

Why is it so hard for me to let go of things that I don't even wear or need anymore?    As I was in my closet cleaning, I started thinking about how I do the same thing in my life that I do with my clothes/shoes.   Whether it be relationships, hurts, anger or just stuff, letting go really stinks sometimes.  It's just not easy to let go of things, even if we know deep down it's the best thing to do.  I've been thinking about this a lot because it seems that lately I've talked to a lot of people who are struggling with this issue of letting go.  I know, for me, that this has been a huge struggle in my own life.  The reality is that, whether or not I need these things in my life or not, I may not really want to let them go.  Does that make sense??   I hold onto things that if I would just let go, it seems my life would be so much easier, but it's so hard to do sometimes.

The memory is a great thing in many ways and a curse in others.  I have so many wonderful memories that I look fondly back on, but I also have a lot of bad memories that I would just as soon I'm sure most of us do.  Wouldn't it be so nice to be able to hold on to the great memories and erase the not so great??   I would love to say that I have a great amount of peace all the time and only look back at the bad memories as a learning experience, but if I'm honest with myself (and y'all) that's not always true. I sometimes really struggle letting go of the junk!!  I've been hurt, either by people or circumstances in my life...some because of my own bad choices and some things beyond my control...and I've learned that I have to remind myself on days that I'm really struggling with these things, that who I am is not based solely on where I've come may be a part of me, but it doesn't have to define me.  I can learn from the past....and trust me, I have....but sometimes the pain and hurt linger.

The good news is that I've learned and am continuing to learn that as I let go of the things in my life that can keep me from moving forward, it is freeing.  There's a saying that I love and may have quoted before....Leave the broken, irreversible past in God's hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.- Oswald Chambers   I know that God has been faithful in helping me with this area of my life and I'm so thankful!  Cleaning out the closet of my life is something I will have to always work on I know, much like my closet in my house that I'm constantly having to clean out. There are times when I'll put something in the Goodwill bag, only to get it back out because I think there's a slight chance I might wear it again....only months later to realize I haven't even thought about wearing it, and I put it back in the Goodwill bag.  It's such a good feeling to finally take the bags of clothes from my house to Goodwill and get rid of them. In much the same way, there are things in the closet of my life that I will put away, only to pull it out again and hold onto it for awhile until I realize it's not doing me any good to hold onto it anymore and I have to consciously put it away again.  I know that real peace only comes when I finally let go and take the stuff in my life to the throne of my Father and lay them at His feet.  I'm so thankful that I can rest in the assurance that in letting go, I can have a peace that life will go on and greater things are in front of me. 

I love that I can walk in my closet now without tripping over the's a great feeling!!  Cleaning out the closets in my life and letting go of the junk in it is a great feeling too!!  So in my countdown to 40, the ninth thing that I've learned is that holding onto things in my 'life's closet' can hold me back from finding true peace....and it's not only needed, but freeing!!   I'm going to focus more on doing just that!