Thursday, June 30, 2011

When times get tough

We live frugally all the time, not just because I believe it is important to be a good steward of what you have, but because we just don't have a lot. We are making ends meet by living without things that others consider necessities, but I think are luxuries, like cell phones and cable tv. We had a small savings, and then the worst thing that can happen when you are close to the edge happened.... the unexpected!! First it was a car repair, then an unexpected doctor bill, then losing glasses in the ocean and having to replace them, and then yet another car repair. Somewhere between unexpected thing #2 and #3 we exhausted our savings... and of course the unexpected keeps coming. I have had a hard time sitting down to write anything on here as I knew I wanted to write about dealing when you can't figure out what to do, but I really wasn't sure what I was going to do, which did not leave me much to write about. Here is what I am doing so far.
First we prayed, and thank God for what we actually do have and ask for his help in our trying time.
Take stock in what I have, in our case a stocked freezer and some one who can cook, meaning at least there is one thing less to worry about.
Prioritize, Prioritize, prioritize... what can wait till next week will just have to wait.
Remember that this is temporary and things will turn around.
Lastly and this is a big one for me, don't worry. It does no good when I am in the thick of something, especially something we can't easily change to worry. It takes my mind off my family, off any happiness I may have and keeps me from not being present in my own life. Those are all things I can't get back once the time has passed.
What do you do when times get tough for your family?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vinegar and its many uses

Growing up I never used vinegar except to dress collard greens, which I love. I grew to love it as a condiment and began to make my own pepper vinegars, salad dressings and marinades. However I was still missing the greatest uses I have found for vinegar yet.
It cleans, VERY well. It deodorizes. It softens clothes. It cleans hard wood floors and laminate floors with ease. It disinfects almost as well as bleach. Combine it with baking soda and you can clean almost anything in your home. To top it off it only costs $2.32 right now a gallon at Wal-Mart in our area. 

Here are the things that I currently use vinegar for in my home:
1-I use it to clean counters, tabletops and other surfaces that I would normally use a multi purpose spray on, with a spray bottle from the dollar store and a 50:50 ratio of water to vinegar.
2-I use it to get odors out of clothing by adding a cup of vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of the washing machine.
3-I use it in rinse water, about 1 tbsp to half a sink of water, for my dishes to get the last of the soap residue off of them. 
4-I clean drains with it by placing baking soda (50 cents a box) down the drain to the rim, pouring vinegar in it, and stopping up the drain and coming back in 30 minutes or so to pour boiling water down the drain to clear the clog. This works best if you do it regularly, about once every two weeks or so to move the gunk out of the drain.
5-I use it as a shower spray to cut down on the possibility of soap scum or mildew.This can be full strength vinegar or the 50:50 ratio of vinegar to water.
6-I clean the coffee maker with 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water run through the machine like brewing coffee, to clean the inner workings of the machine.
7-I let it do the work if there is stuck on food on a pan or the counter, let it sit and come back to it in a bit and it will scrape with ease.
8-I make a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water to make a scrubbing cleanser for the bathtub, and then I come back with vinegar to foam out the last of the baking soda film and clean to surface with the bubbling reaction.
9- I use it to rinse my hair once a week to make it shine and pull off shampoo build up. - You can soak orange or lemon peel in a mason jar of vinegar for this purpose to give it a citrus smell. I use a 50:50 water to vinegar ratio here.
10- I use it to clean windows and mirrors streak free.

Best of all, if my two year old gets hold of my cleaning spray there is not a call to poison control as it is just vinegar, and not a whole bunch of unknown chemicals. The worst that will happen is she smells like a salad for the rest of the day.
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