The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2010-04-18

Friday, April 23, 2010

7 random things around my house

 I've had all these random things I've wanted to write about but none of them were full posts so I thought I'd put them together.

1. I make my own laundry soap, a lot. I haven't had any issues with things getting clean and my laundry smells really nice. It's also much softer than when I use commercial soaps without having to use softeners.  And no static in the dryer either.  I haven't found a downside to using this recipe. 

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (grated fine)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

optional - 1 cup of oxyclean powder. (I do add this)

If you can't find the ingredients (or don't have a food processor - Like me - to grate the soap) you can visit Soaps Gone Buy and she offers this kit:

(picture from Soaps Gone Buy)

Mix everything and store in a fabulous vintage 50's airtight container.   Okay, most of that was editorial wishful thinking; mine's in ugly plastic.  Ergo, no picture.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

Read that again!

Table. Spoon.

You're not using cups here it's a tablespoon or two and you really can use just one for a small not too dirty load.

I hear Zote bar soap works really well, smells divine and in a pinch you can use it as catfish bait ...and no, I'm not kidding it's sold as that all over eBay but I've yet to find it anywhere that doesn't charge more for shipping that for the bar of soap.

2. I have a Dyson vacuum.

Considering I had $12 to spend on my web design it  seems odd that I spent so much on a vacuum but I've gone through a lot of vacuums and after a year they all turn into pieces of humming performance art.

They suck.  Basically.

Okay, well they don't suck so much any more, that's the problem.  I don't know why but my vacuums work much like the secret messages on the old Mission Impossible shows where after a specific time they self-destruct.

That's the reason I didn't really want to buy the Dyson but I've bought two vacuums that cost more.  A Rainbow and a Filter Queen; both were door to door wonders that didn't so much work out for me. They weren't awful but didn't suit me either... 


If I had one Dyson issue it's that the hoses and tubes and stuff on my Dyson Slim aren't quite large enough for the craptasmic array of debris laying around on my floor but that's really my problem not my Dyson's.  And it does call itself slim...  So I guess in closing I'd say if you have fat debris laying around and expect the Dyson to pick it up get a regular model or be prepared to get to know the very nice people on the Help Line.  And customer service is great at helping me take it apart when I get guitar picks stuck in some hose somewhere.

 3.  I keep Brillo Pads in baggies in my freezer.


When I have a caked on, schumtzy pan and need a steel wool pad, it bugs me because I almost never have enough caked on, schumtzy pans at one time to use up the whole pad and all the soap.

If I leave it on the sink waiting for the next pan , it rusts and I have to throw it out anyway (and than clean the rust off the sink). If I saved up the gunky pots and pans, I'd be forever looking at a festering science experiment in my sink. If I just pitch the pad after each use, I'm forever buying them

Now when I have to use one...I use it, rinse it, put it in a baggie, and than put it in the freezer for the next time. I've found I can use them 4...maybe 5 times before they are buh-bye, all gone.

As a frugal aside here...

If you really want to be frugal - especially if you recycle your aluminum foil and have some clean pre-used specimens around - grab your hard to clean pot and a wad of foil and have at it. The wad of foil works as well as an SOS pad on burned on food. And grills, for that matter. (Of course, not non-stick... but you knew that, right?)

4.  Another thing that costs more than my web design...


I have this Zicam around all the time.  First sign of a tickle in my throat and I'm taking it, I'm taking it now.  Probably picked something up on vacation... Normally I don't leave the house so there isn't so much picking of things up in my living room but on vacation there were people. Around. Me. Shiver....

And yes I know some people have had issues with Zicam - I haven't.  I really use it whenever I'm getting a cold and many times I don't get one...

 5. I love Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt...


It's the best stuff on popcorn ever and I love it on steak heading for a grill.   I use it on lots of stuff instead of regular salt.  Krazy Salt was started by this woman:


From the website:  Jane's story began in a modest kitchen in a small apartment in Overbrook, PA. She was a rosie-cheeked grandmother-type who was busily mixing batches of salt, pepper, herbs and a few secret ingredients. She wanted to make her cooking go a little faster and make gifts for friends and relatives. Her energy and zest for life helped her turn her hobby into an international food sensation.

She's got lots of other products  now but c'mon...Look at that picture of Jane.  How can you not love a woman with a bird on her head who started a business when she was over 60?

6.  A rice cooker.

I make rice in a rice cooker. If you don't have one you're missing something great. While I have a lot of appliances out on my back porch that I was sure I needed when I got them but are now waiting to go to Goodwill... my rice cooker I use all the time.

See, I cook a lot or rice at one time then divide it up in zip-loc bags. Squeeze the air out, freeze them flat and than turn they vertical. Vertically? Well you know what I mean... The bags of rice standing like sentries take up hardly any room in my freezer, keeps great and I always have rice to serve. 

I'm not sure of the brand I have but it was the one Martin Yan was pitching and it even came with a picture of Martin Yan on it. When I got it a few years ago my son and his friend thought that was the best thing about my rice cooker and had a ridiculous amount of fun with the picture of Martin Yan, blackening a tooth and posting it as one of their Facebook profile pictures.

Boys, right? If I could only get them to use their powers for good....

In any case rice cookers are one of those bulky hard to store appliances that actually are worth making room for.  I wish I had one of those 21st century models from Zojirushi  because they have so many functions they make having and storing the unit an even better deal...  To me anyway.   But they are not cheap - It's a get what you pay for thing...

7.   Amazon's Kindle for the iPhone or iTouch...

I wish I had an iPhone (I have AT&T and actually do like it, they've done right by me...) now that I have the iTouch - Live and learn as they say....   I have maybe 5 songs; all way uncool but what I have are other things. Cool things.  Apps.  Books...  Stuff.   Did you know if you have an iTouch or Phone or iPad (Oh, man I wish I was writing to say I had one of these around my house...) you can get Amazon's Kindle book reader free?

kindle copy

You can.


I know, right?

I really love it and the ebooks are cheaper (air quotes around that word, please) and take up no space in my house.  Now, I gotta pause here from my love of the Kindle and ask, why are ebooks not scads cheaper than paper books?

In the past publishers have said that shipping, the cost of paper, ink, the returns of unsold books and all manner of blah blah blah and fa la la lo these many years since the printing press was discovered has been responsible for the price of books being so high and yet the ebook editions don't cost much (10-15% ) less than paper copies.

Now they are saying my standing aghast at the prices shows my lack of understanding of the real cost's to publish and that the book is only the final cost in a long line of costs.

Well, they shut me right up and thanks for pointing out how very, very stupid I am because shoot, to me it sounded like they were either lying the first time or the second time so damn, glad they pointed out my very, very flawed error.  Now I can see why eBooks can only be 10% less than a book requiring ink and paper.. and truck travel to warehouses and storage and returns and all that stuff that physical books require.

Hells-bells why aren't they charging more for eBooks?  I think Judge Judy should work this one out for me because I can hear her say... What is it she says I love so much?  Oh right.  Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. That's even the title of one of her books (here) interestingly it's not available as an eBook.

...not that I'm saying that fits here...  

Just saying' I love when she says that...

I'm thinking that when someone comes up with a way to beam a book directly into my head before the writer even writes it maybe than the price will go down.  Than again maybe not. 

Um, a bit off track there.

I really do love the Kindle though.  It wirelessly downloads the books and I've yet to find a book that didn't have some sort of sample I could download free to look over. I really like that feature.  The samples vary - not all are helpful - some are a list of chapters which is frankly stupid and not helpful at all but many are a chapter or two which is great.

*And in case anyone's wondering - No, these companies don't know me*


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An update on the guitar containment facility

In a perfect world I would fly in the design team responsible for exhibits at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and we would go over the pictures...

bens stuff1

Study the logistics of the room...


Conflab about the stringed overage in my living room...

bens stuff2

Account for half-naked girl holding guitar art...


Find a suitable place of honor for the three-foot
long super soaker and an Optimus Prime helmet...


And the sparkly turquoise guitar...


And after many late night creative sessions accompanied by strong coffee and more  xanax chasers than I  care to admit,  we would all agree on a  plan for storing the guitars...

hall of fame

 Not that one though.  That's the Cleveland Rocks Guitar Exhibit.

 I really love that little insane fantasy of mine up there because if I told my kid,

Oh by the way Dude, I got The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to redo your room.  They are coming a week from Thursday.  Be there or be square.

The look of shock and awe on  his face would last me a lifetime.

Anyway this not being a perfect world and all... I asked the guy down the street who power-washed my house to give me a hand with decorating ideas and guitar wrangling implementation and he was busy but is going to try and fit me in.

I'm going to try and explain it all below but it will probably be crazy confusing... I don't have a degree in this stuff like the Hall of Fame people probably do and the power-washing guy has more important things to occupy his time.


We thought about this general floor plan (10'3" x 11'2") with the bed being moved under the windows and turned towards the center, the dresser moved across the room so he doesn't need a TV stand.... And I'll give him my flat screen so a TV won't take up so much room.  

Ben's Room

A small desk will go in the closet and an organizer on the opposite side and add some floating shelves where the bookcase is now.   I'll hang the guitars on the long wall along side the bed.

My attempts at visual aids.



Radiance Sq. Edg Hdn Brckt Shelf Black 36" W x 10" D x 2" H

A floating shelf.

Hardly a Power Point presentation is it?



I need about 12 of these hooks to hang guitars...

I know.  It's confusing.
It's confusing to me and I know what I mean.



Techni Mobili Tango Laptop Cart

I thought something like this desk for the closet or
even something simpler...

I've already moved the laundry out of his room ... So the clothes don't so much accumulate on the floor.


As long as I say everyday, Did you throw your clothes in the basket?

The blinds have to go.


And I would love to get a wood floor in there...I hate that black carpet.  Oh, how I hate that black carpet.  A lot like I hate the emerald green carpet that covers my entire house.  You think I could cover my whole house in wood flooring for under a hundred bucks?

So that's where I am at the moment.   I haven't done anything but buy the hamper so far and make the plan...  I'm open for suggestions...

Make that begging...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Going Green on Retro Tuesday

I like green; it's my favorite color.  I'm sure you all know my irrational love and plans to marry the color atomic aqua. And if we're being really honest I don't even hate Brady-bunch avocado.  I used to love it followed by a short period where I disliked it because I was sick of it and am gradually finding a soft spot for it again.

retrotuesay stamp

For me it's bring on your greens and don't stop till I cry Uncle.  Which I won't so basically it's bring on your greens.  That's it than, just bring on your greens.

Green and I have a long history.  I used to have this weird thing I did walking home from the bus stop.  Half-way home I'd close my eyes and walk the rest of the way without looking with a blue green fantasy rolling around in my head.

The short version is when I opened the door everything in the house would be blue and green.  Or blue-green.  Or aqua.  Or marine blue.  Or any of the other Crayola combos I was so fond of.   I haven't told a lot of people about it because I get responses like, think of living in a fish tank much?  And yeah, I understand that but it has more to do with the calm of it all, I think.

Plus, my mother disliked green.  A lot.  She hated green.  And I'd like to think I just love green but it could be I didn't start loving green until I found out she hated it.  I certainly could have started just to annoy my mother.

In any case.   I do love it.  And it did annoy my mother.  So I was a winner either way.

There is a green I don't like though.

And it's all over vintage magazines.  That 1940's green.  I looked around for the name but really never came up with a single good name I could use besides that green I can't stand from the 40's which actually works because surprisingly everyone knows the green I mean.

visking film

That one. 

But I bet you knew it before you looked.   Kohler's website has some information about color time lines and according to them  "The 1940s and World War II brought soil-hiding khaki and olive green, as well as patriotic reds and blues. Doing its part for the war effort, the American textile industry even restricted the number of colors available for fabric, thus suppressing the appetite for new colors and new clothes every season."

And okay  maybe this makes sense.  The American textile industry restricting the colors available would account for the prevalence of so nauseating a color.

Honestly, what can I say about a color that can best be described as soil-hiding?

Kohler called this color either Spring Green or Spruce Green, I can't tell by the site.


Dramex called it Shadow Green


Here's some of those soil hiding textiles now...


visking film

Although really with the plastic stuff all over it I guess it could be any color.  As an aside - One house in my neighborhood had  plastic pants on all the furniture.  Bizarrest thing ever in summer when you're wearing shorts and your thigh skids across it and it makes this noise similar to a 12-year-old boy doing an armpit fart on purpose.

And even though everyone really did know, It was the couch OMG it was the couch! They razzed you about it all day.


I think it looks awful with yellow.

Interior Decor as PERFORMANCE ART
in a visual representation of 


Geranium Red...


It's an improvement over the green and yellow and really adds something that (maybe) saves this room.  It's almost kind of cute.  Or maybe it's just that I like the little things in the front.  Anyway...  I don't want to look at this green anymore...

In fact it may be the perfect color for my kitchen because I think it might be an appetite suppressant too. I'm feeling a little queasy at the moment...  Shadow green around the gills you might say.


LINK TO MY BLOG... Email me and I'll put your link right  here.


Monday, April 19, 2010

This and that

Even though I will really miss hearing this at night


and sitting by this during the day


and listening to the wind crackle through these


and watching the sun go down here

I really, really missed this while enjoying all that.


And am glad to be home...


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home, sweet, home...

For someone who hates being away from home I really enjoyed being away this time with one exception.  I didn't recall that the internet connection was practically dial-up.    The first group of photos I started to download seemed to take a long (excessive/ridiculous/FredFlintstonian) amount of time getting to Flickr.

Like forty minutes later they were loaded... Almost. 

I really love The Grand Hotel for lots of reasons but their $9.95 a day slow as oatmeal going up a darned hill in February high speed (and I'm imagining air quotes around the words high speed as I type that) isn't one of them.

The only thing worse than paying for a wireless connection in this century is paying for a slow wireless connection and it sort of brought me back to the days of AOL in the 80's.  I could almost hear, You've got mail.


Guess it was always this way I just noticed this time 'cause I'd planned on posting photographs the entire time  in lieu of writing so the sound of OH. FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. HIGH.  SPEED.... COME... ON... ALREADY.....   Shot out of my room in an omnidirectional manner...  All damn weekend.  And  I didn't really visit anyone because it took forever for everyone's blogs to load.

But I promise I'm back to visiting tomorrow.


 I've always gone to Cape May in the late fall but this time, in the spring...Wow.  The weather was lovely. Especially this morning.

It hurt to leave. 


Morning shells



8 a.m.



The water's edge



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