The last few days have been busy around here, and now that I'm connected to the Internet via lightning speed thanks to Comcast, I can share some things with you.
Neal had sinus surgery on Thursday. His surgery went well and he is recovering nicely, aside from a nagging headache and some dull pain in and around his nose. It was discovered that he has a narrow trachea and using the regular tubing for anesthesia was not possible. It took three anesthesiologists to finally get him intubated. Needless to say, he had a pretty sore throat the first 24 hours! The sinus surgery was done because a CAT scan revealed he has chronic sinus infections and it was thought that doing a complete roter-rooter of his sinus cavity would help alleviate this, plus allow him to breathe through both nostrils simultaneously - something he hasn't been able to do in a long time. He said he could actually breathe out of his nose not long after surgery, so we hope this does the trick!
I find myself more and more intrigued with being self sufficient, from growing my own veggies to making my own cleaning products. I read a lot of blogs about people who have gone back to the simple way of life, and the more I read, the more I like. It is our intent to one day build a modest home on or property, live off grid and enjoy the simple pleasures of life - minus all the sensationalism and commercialism. So as practice for our one-day rural, simple, frugal life in the country, I have been trying my hand at some new things right here in the middle of suburbia.
Last night after work, I made a veggie quiche and flaky cheddar thyme biscuits....yum! Neal found the cheddar biscuit recipe here and we have already made them three times in a week! This morning, I made a batch of homemade laundry detergent which consists of nothing more than grated bar soap (castille, Fels Naptha or Ivory), washing powder and borax. The washing powder and borax used to be carried in just about all supermarkets, but these days they can be difficult to find...at least for me they were. After four trips to supermarkets and drug stores, I finally found both products at King Soopers (a grocery chain). There are many homemade laundry recipes floating around out there, some quite fancy and complicated. Since I am aiming for simple, frugal and easy here, I chose to go with this one posted by Wretha which calls for equal amounts of the above three ingredients. That's it. Three ingredients. So, after mixing up my batch of detergent, I immediately began washing clothes and was quite pleased with the results. No flowery, fru-fru or chemical laden smells to our clothes, just a nice, fresh smell of clean. And I only used 2-3 tablespoons per full load. If you prefer a liquid laundry detergent instead of powder, all you do is stir the soap in hot water to dissolve, then add your borax and washing soda. You would need to use 1/4 - 1/2 cup per load if you use the liquid type, but that's it. Couldn't be simpler.
After making my detergent and washing some clothes, I soaked in a nice warm bath and shaved my arms and legs with my new Preserve razor, which is environmentally friendly. I have always been bothered by using disposable razors, but other than using the heavy, metal types, which I don't like, I hadn't found a solution...until now. Preserve razors are made from 100% recycled plastic and are designed for recycling. According to their website, all you do is just squeeze in the arms, pop off the blade and recycle the handle. And, if your community doesn't offer recycling for #5 plastics, they will mail you a postage paid envelope to mail your razor handle back to them. How cool is that? I ordered mine online at drugstore.com, but I noticed Whole Foods carries them as well.
After my bath, I went to get a massage. Dang, I love massages! OK, probably not so frugal since I paid for it instead of insisting that my husband do the honors for free, but I am beginning to learn that massages are not just a luxury, they are good for your health and well-being. And I would be hard-pressed to convince Neal to give me a massage for an hour! The massage therapist I saw normally charges $45 for a one hour, full body massage - not a bad deal when some spas charge twice that - but she was running a special package of four massages for $140. Not to insult your intelligence, but that's $35 each. Dang, I love massages, AND discounts!
After my massage, I headed out to an open house for National Mill Dog Rescue Network. They are an incredible local group that rescues dogs from the horrors of puppy mills. In less than two years, they have rescued approximately 1000 dogs and placed them in new homes. They now have a fabulous facility, with indoor/outdoor dog kennels and comfy cots and a dedicated group of volunteers that the founder calls "a family". Having been around a lot of rescue groups and shelters in my time, I can honestly say there is something very special about this group. I have hesitated offering to volunteer with them because we don't need any more dogs and I have a tendency for caving in, but they are doing so much good -nationwide -and I would like to be a part of that. For them, it's all about educating the public about puppy mills and saving the dogs that come into their care. Period. No popularity contests, no politics, no BS. Sounds like my philosophy on life. I intend to fill out the volunteer application I brought home and see where they could use my help.
Happy campers at National Mill Dog Rescue Network
My last stop was at Whole Foods, in search of liquid glycerin to use in my soon-to-be-made homemade dishwashing liquid. I found the glycerin, but not before sampling all the tasty snacks and picking up more items than would fit in my two hands, thereby causing me to get a basket. Why does that always happen? Speaking of Whole Foods, I had forgotten how much variety they have and how much I like that place. And actually, their prices are not that bad on some things.
My next mission is to find lye, or caustic soda, to make my own homemade bar soap. The whole "caustic" thing has made me hesitate in that endeavor, but as I understand it, the lye is neutralized when mixed with the proper ingredients in the soap-making process, and soap simply cannot be made without it. I'm finding it a bit difficult to find this needed ingredient (of course, why should it be easy?), but find it I will....if I have to order it and have it shipped to me! For now, I'm off to the kitchen to mix up my dishwashing liquid and nibble on some of that cranberry cheddar cheese from Whole Foods.
Good weekend to all...
Happy to be free!