Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Call of Fall Part 2--Heat Tape

I left off the first installment of "Call of Fall" kind of abruptly.  That's how my brain operates--it buzzes from one subject to another and then another, like a bee going from one flower to another all day long. 

Something came to mind as a Facebook friend was showing snow on her vehicle (eeeek!!!), and that was freezing temperatures early.  I personally am not a fan of the extreme cold or extreme heat.  Just give me 75 year round with 50's for lows, and that's perfect. 

But, with those freezing temps comes frozen water pipes.  It happens every year to someone.  It stinks.  It can get costly.  It's a royal pain in the hiney. 

Something I learned the hard way after some pipes breaking, was heat tape.  If you've never heard of heat tape, it's a nice little invention that can save you lots of money, time, water, hassle, headaches, curse words, etc. 

When I learned about this, I had already had a broken water pipe on my little bitty trailer.  At the time I was a single mom with a special needs toddler, and I worked nights.  I was on my own, really didn't have a lot of technical know how for the under carriage of a mobile home.  I learned quickly after the first pipe break that maybe I should do something.  So, a trip to Lowe's and I came home with this foil looking roll of "tape".  It was kinda expensive for a working single mom, but I followed the directions and applied it onto the pipes.  I plugged it in, and lo and behold, no more frozen pipes. 

Fast forward a few years, a marriage, and a couple more kids, and we're using the tape again.  We now live in an older (turn of the century) prairie style home that has the stone foundation and so on.  We installed the tape on the pipes here, and it's been very helpful.  The pipes run under the house into a near crawlspace style basement, and it gets very cold there.  It has a lot of ventilation from little gaps and holes that have accumulated over time, which comes with old houses.  It has been bitter at times these past years, well below zero plus the wind chill, enough to freeze pipes for days.  All the pipes tended to with the electric heat tape have held up.  During the coldest of the cold, we drip faucets, and intense cold gets a stream..the drips have frozen up once or twice when it was absolutely bone chilling well below zero, but the little stream doesn't. 

Overall this helped and helps keep costly pipe bursts from happening.  This may be an idea for you to look into for your winterizing. 

~~~Mrs. A

Monday, September 24, 2018

Frugal General Purpose Cleaner

Here very recently I renewed my desire for making homemade cleaners.  I need to be more thrifty with our income, so this is an area I can easily cut.

I started making homemade laundry soap a few years ago.  This wasn't hard at all, and a little goes a long way, even with our family and the amount of laundry we do.

Now I've started on all-purpose/general cleaners.  This is a new adventure in my world.  I started looking through Pinterest for some ideas.  If you look at my boards under Sunny Patch, you'll see I found a few.  Feel free to check out my finds!

The first one I tried is a mix of vinegar, water, dish soap, and essential oil.

This actually turned out well.  I went through an entire spray bottle in 2 days.  The only thing different I'm doing now is the essential oil.  I at first used cedar wood, as I like the smell of cedar.  It doesn't smell so great with vinegar.  The second time, I made the vinegar/soap/water mix with apple scented soap and left out the essential oil.  It works great, smells good, and it's a keeper.

I am figuring this will save me quite a bit in cleaners.  No real need for a special cleaner for the bathroom, kitchen, floors, and so on...this one has so far worked on everything from stove to shower to some pretty nasty floors.

If you do frugal cleaners, let me know what you use!  I'm all ears and open for ideas to try!!

~~Mrs. A

Joyfully shared with:
A Pinch of Joy

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Call of Fall

It is absolutely gorgeous this morning in SE Kansas!  It's been a blistering 90's or so most of the past week, and we've so wanted fall to come, especially since we had no spring and have had summer for more months than we can count.  We woke up to 50's for lows, and it was so nice!

Moving into the fall season brings areas we can work on for saving money and using frugal measures.  We generally use this season as a prep time for winter, which is a costly season.  But, this prep time can save us on resources and finances if we think about what we do.

Right now, those of us in cooler weather can cut the AC off.  Folks farther north are probably using heat, especially where they've already had snow.  Remind me not to move there!  Anyway, opening your windows to let in fresh air and cooler temps will dramatically save on your electric bill.  It also saves wear and tear on whatever unit you use to cool your home.  We run fans to help circulate the air in our house and get that sweet smelling fresh air as far in as possible.  If you have ceiling fans, those work very well in circulating, have your blades set to pull air up for now, and when winter comes and you use your heat, set the blades to push air down.

For those who do not open windows, this is a good time to start working on weatherizing those windows.  They are a good source of heat leakage in the winter, which raises your energy cost.  Here at our house, we use heavy clear plastic and attach it to the outside of the windows on the downstairs and the inside of the windows upstairs.  It makes a big difference and you don't feel a bitter draft in the middle of winter when the wind is howling.  Plastic is easy to find at your local hardware store, Home depot/Lowe's, Walmart, and possibly other discount stores.  We use double sided tape inside the house, cardboard strips and staples on the outside.  On the outside we roll the plastic up in spring so we can have the windows open, and return it back to the window and staple down in November.

This season is the time when we start pulling out our blankets, quilts, warmer clothes, and pumpkin spice everything.  We decorate our houses and yards to show the harvest colors.  This can be costly, but it doesn't have to be.

If you're decorating your house, use what is naturally around you.  Colored leaves in vibrant hues of reds and golds will soon be everywhere.  Gather some, and gently spray them with clear coat paint to keep them from degenerating any farther and keep that color a while.  I remember my mom doing this and calling it shellacking.  She also did this with pine cones.  Take the clear painted leaves and adhere them to a wreath or whatever decor you prefer to use, do the same with the pinecones.  Pumpkins are perfect to work with as well.  If you don't grow them, you can purchase them at decent prices.  If you DON'T carve them, they will last much longer.  When carving them out, you open the gourd and allow bacteria, oxygen, fungus, and bugs to get in and the inner flesh will deteriorate quickly.  Leaving the gourd whole will allow it to last much longer outside, especially on a dry area.  You can then use these later in the season for pumpkin pie and other goodies.  Roast the seeds for a great treat (I personally prefer brown sugar and butter on mine).  You can use butternut squash and other squash/gourds for decor, and then turn around and eat them later.  This makes a good double duty decoration!

If you know farmers or do your own gardening, save your corn stalks after harvest and use them for decor.  Tie a few together in a bundle and you have instant decoration without the added cost.  If you have dried grass/hay bales/dried wheat grass (straw)/oat grass/etc, you can use it for decor, bundled or used as bales for stacking, or in the sleeves of a scare crow.  Save some field corn or Indian corn to dry out and use it for pops of color.  Mums are a traditional fall decor item, they're great for color, and when you plant them, they return year after year after year after year.  My father-in-law has a yard full of mums that started off of one mum that has been used for cuttings for years.  It's pretty to see in the fall!  Marigolds are often bright and very beautiful this time of year as well.  They are annuals but reseed themselves very well.  It is almost like cooler weather brings out their colors better.

Now is a good time to check your warm clothes supply, while garage sales are still going.  People are clearing closets and preparing for the winter Christmas clothing haul,  Some pieces might need a little mending, but if you are handy with a needle and thread, you can do it easily and save lots of money.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas.  This is just a very beginning...considering this is the first day or spring. :)

What are your frugal ideas for fall???  I'd love to hear them!

~~~Mrs. A

Gratefully shared with:

Darling Downs Diaries

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Just Give Me A Call

Jeremiah 33:3--"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (KJV)

Through my years as a mom in the special needs world, I've had to call on God more times than I can count.  Each time He has been there, He has provided an answer to whatever the issue was I brought to Him.  Sometimes it's been "yes", sometimes "no",  sometimes "slow down sister, you ain't ready".

Back in the days of Jeremiah, God promised He'd answer, all the Israelites had to do was call out to Him.  He has not stopped listening and answering!  God does not go back on His Word!

As a believer with a few years under my belt, I've seen God answer even the most trivial of questions.  He's been there every time I've called out to Him. I may not have liked His answers at times, but God knows the beginning to the end, so He knows what's best.  It at times takes me a bit to get that one through my pea brain.

When was the last time YOU cried out and asked the Lord for help?  When was the listed time you called upon Him for wisdom in a certain situation?

As I've gotten older, my own prayer has often been asking for guidance in situations.  I've been in many through my journey that looked as if there was no answer, but God had the answer.  All I had to do was ask.

If you are a believer young in the faith, you may have yet to understand that Jeremiah's words are absolutely true.  There's no long formula to recite to get God's attention, just talk to Him.  As a dad wants his children to ask of him, our Father desires that we seek Him for our needs.

If you are a more seasoned saint, you've seen how God works in the big and small.  Nothing has been to minute for Him, nothing too large.  You've seen time and again how God has answered you in times of trial, rejoicing, and even the more mundane.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we who have been walking with Jesus a while took the time to tell others how He's answered when we've called out to Him?  Us seasoned saints, we should be more deliberate in doing so.  Our testimony of God's goodness, mercy, grace, provision, can impact the lives of those around us.  It doesn't matter what denomination you call yourself, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior according to Scripture, you have a testimony!

God loves you, He wants you to call on Him, ask Him to show you what He wants you to do/see/react/etc.

Take a moment today and share your testimony with someone!

~~Mrs. A

Gratefully shared with:

Darling Downs Diaries