Friday, October 5, 2012


I haven't written on this blog in ages!  I guess I got tired of listening to myself.  Or maybe I just got tired of thinking about it any more than I had to. 

I started this blog to document change for the better.  It ended up being more about trying to survive while being stuck in the status quo.  

I have applied for many jobs and haven't even gotten a single interview.  This is incredibly discouraging.  I have a master's degree but I can't even get a $20K-a-year clerical position.  Dismal.

I would love to work at the University of Arkansas.  It is four blocks from my house and I know LOTS of professors and other employees there.  Plus a college campus is just a great environment.  Most of the jobs I have applied for have been there.  Apparently, you have to know someone to get hired there.  I know people but I guess they're not the right people at the moment. I continue to try.

I have also considered going back into real estate with a different realty.  I would love to be a realtor again and think that is the optimal lifestyle because of the flexibility it allows.  But I am not confident about the housing market yet.  I need something with a regular paycheck and benefits.  

I have also considered getting my psychotherapy license.  I already have the Master's degree in my pocket.  I just need 600 of internship and to pass oral and written exams.  Two problems:  1) All the internships I can find are full time and unpaid.  Not an option.  And 2) I'm not sure if there aren't more cobwebs in the psychology department of my brain than I think and I don't know how much has changed in the field in the last 18 years.  Perhaps I am too outdated?  

Recently I decided that I needed to be more specific in my prayers.  I decided to ask to meet the right people.  So far, this line of asking has gone well.  Through an acquaintance, I now have a lead on a half-time internship and I have also established an email communication with the professor at the university who supervises licensing.  So maybe.  We'll see.  I have a list of reservations but they might possibly be more fear-based than real.  

The good news is that some money has come in from family investments -- just enough to keep things afloat and to give me a little bit of ease in my budget.  Just a little bit.

There are "normal" things I've gotten to do lately that feel SO GOOD!  I hope those of you who get to do these things regularly appreciate the blessing of being able to do so.  

I was able to:

* Pay my utilities ON TIME!  Not at the cut-off date (which had become the norm).  Not even late!  ON TIME!  That is HUGE!  I can't tell you how exciting that is.  I know it sounds silly but it feels like a great accomplishment and huge progress.  

* Buy more food!  I've felt guilty spending some of the money on food.  And then I remind myself -- it's FOOD!  Good grief!  We should get to eat!  Having more money means getting to eat healthier.  There is definitely no harm in that.  It's not like I went out and filled the freezer with convenience foods or, God forbid, took the whole family out to a RESTAURANT!  Well, actually, I DID do that one.  Just once.  And just for brunch.  And just because we were out of town.  I see restaurants as a complete waste of money now.  Especially now that I've learned to make my own Thai food!

* Finance Tessa's Seminole Princess Pageant run.  Fabric for her dresses, gasoline, hotel rooms, food on the road.  Her father financed her run last year.  It felt good to return the favor this year.

* Put a full tank of gas in the car instead of putting in $10 at a time which I've been doing for ages because I couldn't tie up a whole $70 in my gas tank.  Well, actually, I only do this for a road trip (to Enid to see Mark or to Seminole, Oklahoma for the Princess Pageant).  But I aspire to get to do this all the time.  

* Pay off a couple of debts.

* Take one of the cats and one of the dogs to the vet for long-overdue attention.  You've never seen someone as excited to give their dog pills as I am!  The back half of my sweet dog, Torpedo, that was completely bald from flea allergies and possibly mange as well is starting to have fur on it again.

* Buy another (used) transmission for my Sienna minivan that's been dead since August 2010.  My ex-husband is in the process of installing it for me.  Maybe I'll get to drive my beloved Sienna again before too long.  Could it be true?  It's almost too wonderful to hope for!

* Replace the radiator in the Caravan minivan.  It overheats regularly and I've been putting 2 gallons a day into it lately.  Today, I might possibly get a new radiator!  Maybe.  Thank God for ex-husbands who have mechanical skills and a desire to keep their children in a vehicle! 

* Buy Sara-Grace three pairs of new jeans.  It was probably less than $50 but this is a HUGE amount of money to me.  It has been inconceivable to me to spend that much money on clothes for a very long time.  We buy all our clothes at the thrift store for about $3 per item.  This is now our preference and I doubt we'd convert back to retail if we could.  But decent jeans in Sara-Grace's style and size were not to be found at the thrift stores.  Plus, it just felt good to buy her new clothes and to get her exactly what she wanted.  I remember doing that once for Emily when she was about 3.  I bought her 8 or 10 new items of clothing at once and I still remember how good it felt to splurge on her like that. 

Whew!  That was more of an update than I'd planned!  Oh well!  Perhaps it makes of for the long silence.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

There are lots of good things that have come from penny pinching.  

We make most foods from scratch -- which most often taste BETTER! We make our own chicken stock, french fries, potato chips, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes, biscuits, salad dressings, and lots of other things.    

I've learned how to improvise when I'm lacking an ingredient (or two) -- I have the Food Network show "Chopped" to thank for this!    

I have learned how to change the brake pads on my car.  I can repair an iPhone without killing it (most of the time).  

I've learned how to do so many things because, if I need anything done, I pretty much have to do it myself.  

Today, let me expound on the joys and virtues of homemade laundry detergent!  I started making it because it was cheaper than most detergents but also because it is pure and basic and simple and old fashioned.  Some member of my household always seems to get a rash when I change detergents so I quit with all the detergent roulette. 

I found a recipe on Pinterest.  Then I modified it a bit.  The recipe called for Fels-Naptha soap which I think just plain STINKS!  It smells like anti-septic and pine sol which is not how I wanted my clothes to smell.  So I substituted good ole Ivory soap.  Now I LOVE the smell!

Here's my modification of the recipe:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 box washing soda (whatever size they have)
1 box borax (whatever size they have)
1 box baking soda (I usually get a large box, put half in the detergent, and use the other half for household cleaning)
1 bar of Ivory soap

Grate the Ivory soap with a cheese grater.  Mix all the ingredients together (be careful not to breathe the dust or you'll be trying to get it out of your nose and throat for the rest of the day).  Store in some fun container -- a cookie jar, a metal bin, a big mixing bowl -- whatever you like.  

Use 1-2 Tablespoons in the washer.

All the ingredients are available on the laundry aisle at most grocery stores, the combined cost is under $10, and it lasts a LONG time because you use so little.

I was skeptical that it would work as well as "regular" laundry detergent but I've come to believe that it works BETTER!  

And it smells like Ivory soap.  Who doesn't like the smell of Ivory soap?

And no one gets a rash!