Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another New Project...

On Sunday night on Twitter, I learned about a great program called Couch to 5K. It is an amazing program that uses interval training to take you from being a couch potato to being able to run a 5K in just 9 weeks.

I just started back up at the gym last week, trying to run myself into a more healthy weight. I did okay, but I think I started into things too quickly. After running my knees and ankles hurt, and the next morning after a workout was filled with stiffness and pain. This program couldn't have come at a better time for me!

It utilizes periods of running/walking to help you work up to running a full 3 miles without stopping. I started with Week 2, since I had been running last week. Week 2 features 90 seconds of running alternating with periods of walking. It was the perfect pace for me. I never thought I couldn't do it, and afterwards....there was no pain! That is huge for me, as the aftereffects are often what stop me from running. I downloaded the Podrunners podcast featured on the site, which was really helpful. It provides upbeat music and tones that help you know when to walk, when to run, and when to cool down.

If you would like to join and you are also a Twitter user, there is a group of us who are using the program together to offer support. Just tweet after your workout, and use the hashtag #runningtaters

I am off to the gym right now...can't wait for day 2!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blogging Through the Bible in 90 Days

I am excited to be starting a new challenge this summer! Along with Amy at Mom's Toolbox, I will be reading the entire Bible in 90 days, beginning on July 5th.

I am nervous to begin. The Bible has always completely intimidated me. I find the language hard to decipher, and not always attention capturing. I have tried to do this before at various points in my life, and never succeeded.

I know that I need to however. I am so excited to use this opportunity to grow in my relationship with Jesus, and to better understand my faith! I also know that the support of the others in my group reading alongside me will inspire me to stick with it. The Bible we will be using has also been especially designed for the Bible in 90 Days program, and I think that will help as well...only 12 pages a day, with minimal foot notes to distract from the reading. I can just feel God asking me to do this, and to spend this time with Him.

I'd love to have you join me! If you would like to participate, click over to here and sign up. It's quick and easy, and provides lots of information to help you get started. Tell me if you decide to join, and we can support each other!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Day in the Life 6/11/10 at OneTrueMedia.com

My friend Christi did this about a year ago..and I love her great idea! I decided to try this out myself. Our day yesterday...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Home Made Laundry Soap Tutorial

I love to buy things in bulk when I can at Costco. It saves our family LOTS of money each month. By far our biggest expense at Costco was laundry soap. With four very dirty boys, we spent about $30 per month just on laundry detergent.

I started researching alternatives on the internet after I saw Michele Duggar on an episode of "19 Kids and Counting" making her own laundry soap. I was impressed to find that after making my own soap, I could do a load of laundry for about 3 cents a load, giving us a lot of savings!

It ended up being VERY easy to do. The whole process took me about 20 minutes. I have also been extremely impressed with how well it gets out stains. When I have tried other natural laundry detergents, I have been very disappointed with their stain fighting qualities, especially with wash cloths (did I mention dirty boys?!) and food stains.

The Recipe
This is a low sudsing soap, so it can be used in HE machines as well as regular washing machines. You will not see bubbles in the water, but that's okay! It's the ingredients that clean, not the bubbles!

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap
1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is NOT baking soda!)
Sweet Orange Essential Oil (optional, if you would like to add a little scent to your soap)
***Note: with the exception of the Essential Oil, these items should be available in the laundry aisle of your local super market. I chose to start with a starter kit from Lehmans.com, because it came with a grater, and a great 4 gallon bucket to store the detergent in.

First, grate your 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap using a vegetable grater.

Next, put the grated soap into a pan. Add 6 cups of water, and heat over medium heat until the soap melts. Stir constantly, and do not let the water come to a boil.

Add the washing soda and the borax to the melted soap. Stir until all is dissolved, and then remove from the heat. Be sure to use washing soda, not baking soda. Baking soda will not work. I also chose to add 3/4 cup of the borax, for an extra stain fighting boost.

Pour 4 cups of HOT water into a 4 gallon bucket (the bucket should have a lid). Add the soap mixture and stir well, then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir again. After the mixture has cooled down, put the lid on the bucket and let it sit overnight.

The soap should turn into a gel overnight. It will look more like an "egg soup" consistency, rather than a traditional gel. At this point you can add essential oil if you would like your soap to be scented. I like Sweet Orange. I used 25 drops for this recipe.

One Batch of Soap will make approximately 2 gallons. Use 1/2 cup per load. The soap should be stirred or shaken before each use. I saved and rinsed out a used liquid detergent bottle, and I fill this up with soap from my bucket as needed. The bottle can easily be shaken before each use, and the cap is exactly a 1/2 cup, so it works perfectly. The recipe can be doubled if you would like, or your family uses a lot of laundry soap per month.

Happy Soap Making!!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My Parent's Real Estate Nightmare

My parents own a multi level house. It was a great place to raise 4 kids, and it gave us lots of space to be together while also providing room for private quiet time. Now that my parents are nearing retirement age, they knew it was time to move on. Carrying laundry up from the basement and up three flights of stairs isn't easy for my Mom anymore, and we knew it wasn't the place they could spend their retirement.

In February, they started hunting for their new house. My dad asked me to help, and I went to probably 25 different houses with them. During the whole thing, we learned one thing. My Mom loves ranches. She loves smaller but beautiful spaces, and doesn't want a lot to have to clean and take care of. My Dad is the polar opposite. He hates ranches and likes an upper floor, with lots of space and a big basement.

It was looking like these differences in opinion was going to make it impossible for them to agree on anything. But that changed on Holy Saturday, April 3rd. On a whim, they went through a 1 1/2 story. It was love at first sight for both of them. Main floor laundry and master suite for my Mom, and an upper floor with huge basement for my Dad. I loved it too, and even more so, I loved we had FINALLY found the house after 6 weeks of looking. It really was their dream house. They put an offer in that day, and put their house on the market the next week.

My Dad then spent 6 long weeks biting his nails and waiting for their current house to sell. The housing market in Omaha, like much of the country, is not good. It was a hard wait, and Mom and Dad began steeling themselves for the probability that the house wouldn't sell, and that they would be staying put.

Last Sunday, they finally got an offer on their house. My parents were ecstatic and spent the next three days making happy plans. On Tuesday afternoon everything took a turn for the worse when the sellers of the house they were buying backed out, despite a signed contract. It meant that my parents were going to loose about $7500 when you combine the money they spent on the inspection and appraisal, and the home tax credit they would now be loosing. After a day spent Wednesday trying to coerce the sellers into honoring their legal agreement, my Dad decided that they would sue the lady for damages, (his real estate agent is suing her for his loss of commission) and try to find a new house. The buyers of their house agreed to wait until Friday afternoon for a final answer from my parents, which left us with Thursday evening and Friday morning to find a new house.

I knew it would be hard because my Dad had been so in love with the first house. I knew it would be hard too, because of the time crunch and the low availability of houses on the market. Even harder? My Dad couldn't get the day off of work on Friday, which left my Mom and me to make a quick decision on our own.

We found a house that was pretty good Friday morning. It had some of the features my Mom liked, and some that my Dad liked. It was by far the best choice of the houses we had seen over the last two days. When we called my Dad to tell him about it though, I told him he would be okay with it, but he wouldn't love it. He told my Mom to go ahead and buy it. So we did.

It's new construction, so that's really nice. The problem is that it is a ranch, and it is smaller than my Dad wanted. I knew it would make my Mom super happy, and my Dad wouldn't be crazy about it, but we only had 5 hours to find a place to move, or loose their only offer on their house. A horrible decision to make.

After the paper signing, my Mom was happy. She likes the house and the location. When my Dad saw it that night, he was depressed. He doesn't like the location, and he doesn't like the layout.

Me? I haven't been able to sleep since. If there is anyone in my life that I need to have respect and approval from, it is my Dad. He is one of the most important people in my life, and I always want to be able to have his approval. It makes me sick that he might think I made a bad choice for him. Maybe he sent me to balance out my Mom, since I knew what he liked and didn't like. If we had had more time, I would not have picked this house for him, but under the circumstances, I didn't know what else to do.

Dad is out of town this week, so the worst part is I haven't even gotten to talk to him about it. Looks like I am not going to be sleeping for awhile.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Charlie is a Soccer Star

This spring provided Charlie with his first team sports experience. He played micro soccer for Gretna Soccer. It was a much better experience than we had with the YMCA soccer teams, and we are excited to have both Charlie and Sammy involved in the fall season.

Isn't he adorable? The hard thing about the whole experience was that our family's true sports fanatic, Sammy, was too young to play and had to watch the action. I bought him a pair of cleats so he could feel special too, and he kicked around a ball on an empty field near the game. He is beyond excited to join Charlie in August.

Charlie had good games and bad games, and one time got hit in the stomach so hard with a ball that he passed out, but all in all, he is loving the game of soccer, and I am loving that I am back to being a soccer mom.

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