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My friends

I was talking to a friend... about my friends. Sometimes i am awestruck.

I don't really know how i managed to be so blessed.


My friends aren't just people i hang out with when i am bored. They aren't just there on weekends. They aren't replaceable.

My friends are:

-beautiful.
-my sounding boards.
-my inspiration.
-my reality check.
-moral.
-my cheerleaders.
-kind.
-my critics.
-my empathizers and sympathizers.
-my light in the dark.
-my cushion when i fall.
-my truth-tellers.
-liars.
-my support network.
-my judge and jury.
-my peers.
-my source of knowledge.
-hurtful.
-forgiving.
-flawed.
-amazing.
I love my friends because they try. They try to live by the things they believe and they try to be honest about it when they fail. They try to make a difference in the world whether by bringing something beautiful into it, helping someone heal, or helping someone who is dying. They do their best to be good friends. They rejoice with the good news and hold a hand through the bad days. They encourage and criticize with identical intentions: to help you be what you want to be.

I love my friends because we don't do/know/love the same things. We are all so different. We learn from each other. We try new things and learn to appreciate things we would have never been exposed to. We have conversations. We share ideas, and we grow. We have fun.

Sometimes i forget that not everyone has the kind of friends i have been so blessed to have. Sometimes i forget that we can be a very strange group to observe and interact with. When i remember... i am amazed.

I would be lost without these people. I would be lost without any one of them. I can't begin to contemplate life without any of them.

So, my friends, i love you.
to the old ones: i appreciate you for still putting up with me.
to the new ones: i hope to keep you forever.
to everyone: don't just say you appreciate your friends. act on it. be a friend.



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Tallow: You've Got Options

So... Tallow... great stuff.

You pretty much have 3 options.

1. Order it off ebay. Buy in bulk. Freeze what you don't use. I have had a lot of luck in the past with ordering off ebay... be sure to ask what kind of animal it came from. Steer clear of pork. It is NEVER completely odorless. Beef/Deer/Goat... all good. It also makes a minuscule difference to the soap you are making... super teeny tiny. you must must must be a total soap snob to notice it.

2. Make it yourself. Super cheap, super easy, super rewarding, and super duper smelly. All you have to do is go to one of the butcher shops or the meat department at Wal*Mart/Kroger/HEB and ask what they do with their fat and if they can give it to you or sell it to you. Usually they will and they will charge about a quarter to a dollar a pound if they charge you at all. At this point... ask them to run it through the grinder. The smaller it is the quicker it melts. Again, because i can't say it enough, NO PORK. It really really stinks. Next you go home, throw your fat in a pot, cover it with water and simmer until everything has melted and the leftover pieces of meat that were in it are cooked and brown. Strain it all VERY CAREFULLY through a mesh colander and put it in a bowl in your fridge overnight. When you wake up the next morning the water should be on the bottom with a white disk of tallow on the top. Pry it out by sliding a knife around the edges, wash it off with cool water to get the last little bits of "not-a-solid" off and  throw it into a ziplock... freeze it or use it immediately. Easy peasy RIGHT? Be sure and either open your windows and turn on a fan or your vent. If you can... do it outside. We have an extra burner on our grill and it is super handy for such a task. You can also use a hotplate outside with your pan on it.

3. Find a recipe that doesn't call for it. I made some super yummy soap today with no tallow at all. It is just olive oil and almond oil with a little pink coloring and a splash of peppermint EO. mmmm Yummy!!!!

I really like using tallow. It makes a nice creamy hard bar of soap and accepts additives well. There are several recipes i use that don't call for it at all. Experiment. Find what you like.


much love!


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Indeed

Okie dokie, dears!

So... my dear friend, rosesonmyshoes , asked for my detergent recipe... i'll give you all three instead!

I love love love saving the moneys... i love it because that is something else i get to buy or have super fun with and that makes me happy.

I make my own laundry detergent, soap, and wipe solution. I am about to try my hand at deodorant and shampoo...

I am a geek. I know this. i love this. Don't knock it.

Laundry detergent:

I got my recipe from this site and the one i use is...

Recipe #3

Hot water
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)

  • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
  • In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).



We have two empty All free and clear gallon size containers and i just mix it up and put it in those that way we have the little spouty thing to use. (yes. i made up the word "spouty")
Before we got so smart we just used a bucket. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT USE DOVE SOAP. It will leave crap all over your clothes. Ivory seems to work well as does yellow dial. I use my own soap. If you can... buy a bar of homemade soap and use that.

I found Borax and Washing Soda at either WalMart or HEB. You have to look for it, but it is there. I think in Jonesboro i bought it at Kroger... Don't hold me to that...

The powder recipes on the site are great too. I have used a couple of them. The trick there is to make sure you run a little water, dump the detergent in and then a little more water before you put your clothes in. I do this for all my detergent anyway.




I am pretty sure that none of you make soap... but on the offhand chance someone stumbles along that does... the soap recipe i am using right now i found on this site and is...

Basic Soap

32 oz. blended vegetable oil or olive oil
74 oz tallow
3 oz cocoa butter
14 oz lye
41 oz cold water
Follow basic soapmaking directions to prepare lye solution and oils. . Slowly pour the lye  solution into the oils while stirring. Complete soap as per usual instructions. This soap is  mild with long-lasting, creamy bubbles. It traces quickly, sets up and dries quickly. Good  choice for hand milling; accepts additives readily. Can be used in milled soaps either in a moist or dry state. Soap is hard when cured.

I add rosemary/mint or some other super smell good yummy and a little color to the soap we use for baths, and leave the soap i am going to use for laundry etc unscented and uncolored.





We are also using cloth wipes because we were shelling out a boatload of $ on disposable ones. Those handy and fabulous little flannel blankets you get when your baby is still tiny enough to use them are a gift from the domestic heavens. They are only bug enough for baby for a couple of weeks and then are demoted to burp rags. I cut mine up into squares that, when folded in half, would fit into the disposable wipe tub. Now we have cloth wipes that can be tossed into the washer with the diapers and add zero time to diaper changes or laundry.

I will admit that we don't use them for poop. we still have a tub of disposables for that... i think it was a line josh could not cross. lol i love my husband!

The wipe solution we use is

1 Tbsp baby oil
2 tsp baby shampoo
2 1/2 cups water

I just shake it up in a water bottle and pour it over the wipes in a disposable wipe tub. My only advice is don't let it sit for more than a week. It gets a little musty after that. We go through them in less than a week so it really has never affected us. I have used other recipes and this is the one that i like the best. It smells nice and doesn't irritate her skin at all.

I got this recipe from this site.


The most awesome thing is that in my nerdyness... This is how much cah we save

per month:
diapers- $120
wipes- $20
laundry soap- $15
soap- $6

That is $141 a month total. $1692 a year.

Wipe solution will cost about $20 a year and laundry soap and soap together will cost no more than $40. at the very most i am saving $1632. So laugh it up friends. I vote it is worth it.

I guess that is about the extent of my super helpful for today...

I am sure later tonight i will let you know how fabulously dull my day was! LOL maybe not... We haven't done much of note.




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Cloth diapering: I wish they'd told me...

Not my usual rag, but I have typed up several emails to friends who want to know my take on cloth diapering.  So to save my fingers, my poor, weary little fingers, I'm just going to post and direct all my inquiries here.

So here's my spiel, and if you have anything to add or any tips or tricks I might not, share it with me please, I need it!

Ok. Here goes:

Awesome cloth diaper websites:

 

http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-diapers-101.shtml

http://hyenacart.com/poweredby_cat.php?hct=1

http://www.kellyscloset.com/Cloth-Diaper-Information_ep_34-1.html#newtocloth

 

 

Different kinds of diapers:

I use all-in-one diapers… AIO diapers are super easy and most like disposables in that you don’t have to have a diaper cover and you don’t have to mess with pins or snapies. It is a waterproof diaper with a fleece lining and a pocket to hold a super absorbent insert. The fleece wicks moisture away from the baby and into the insert. Lily is four months old and has never had even the slightest bit of diaper rash. They have snaps or Velcro and are one size fits all because you can snap them as small around and as short or tall as you need it. These usually fit from about 5 weeks until potty trained. The only thing that could be considered a bummer is you add about 5—10 mins extra laundry folding time just because you have to put the inserts back in… this is totally worth it for me. At night we just put two inserts in and she sleeps through the night. I think we have only had to change her sheets once because of a blowout. The inserts are SUPER absorbent.

 

We also have some pocket diapers that you have to use with a diaper cover. There are some amazingly cute diaper covers for sale out there. The only time I use them is when we are going somewhere and I want her booty to match her outfit all day. Those you have to order by size (usually only S-M-L by weight) and aren’t as good of a deal just because they will outgrow them. 

 

Common myths:

You don’t have to wash it out in the toilet. You don’t have to leave them soaking in a pail. IT ISN’T THAT BIG OF A DEAL!!! Kushies makes a flushable diaper liner. It looks like a roll of toilet paper… It is a LOT sturdier. You just put it in the diaper and when they poop lift it out and flush it. Super easy. Not useful at all though if they have super runny poop. At that point you just have to wash it out. For pee-pee diapers we just pull the liner out and throw it and the diaper in a laundry basket and wash them at night. Soaking them really isn’t good for them because the material breaks down quicker. Soaking also is more stress and hassle and super nasty germy breeding ground. Who needs that?

I wash a medium size load every night. I have enough diapers to last 3 days without washing… that also seems gross to me. It really doesn’t take me much more time than it would to empty a diaper pail and put a new bag in it… don’t get me started on diaper genii’s.

 

 

Laundry:

I have never used special detergent for Lily. We use All Free and Clear on our clothes when we are being super lazy and the rest of the time I make my own laundry detergent. I haven’t had any problem with either at all. Most cloth diapering information will tell you to use less detergent because the soap will build up and keep it from absorbing as well. This is true. I have found that using vinegar in place of fabric softener works like a charm. A Tbsp or two will cut all of the extra soap and your clothes don’t end up smelling like vinegar. Another true fact: don’t ever ever ever use fabric softener because at that point you might as well have nothing on them at all. You diaper will absorb nothing and I mean NOTHING. Rolls off like water on a shower curtain. Bad news bears.

Most are made with PUL which shouldn’t handle high heat. I put mine in the dryer on low or medium heat and they dry just fine.

 

Don’t be sucked in:

We have a couple of $19 BumGenius diapers… they are great. Not that great. It’s a diaper. Find them cheaper, just as cute, and work just as well. There are tons of “brand name” cloth diapers… don’t be sucked in.

 

Where I get mine:

I have ordered all of my diapers on ebay in bulk. They all come with the diaper and at least one insert. Most of mine have been shipped from China. There are some Work at Home Moms who have some great sites and pretty good deals, but if you can find a seller on ebay who offers free shipping and ships in bulk… do it. Everyone that I have ordered from lets you pick how many of each color diaper you want and they all have a pretty good selection. Total I think I spent $3-$5 a piece on all of my diapers which was significantly better in my mind than $18-$20+.  You can also buy extra inserts online through ebay or any cloth diapering site…

 

Just my opinion:

Newborn Huggies/Pampers are worth their weight in gold. We used them until Lily was 5 weeks old just because her poops were not predictable at all and were super runny as she was breast fed. Cloth diapers just weren’t practical because she went soooo much and she was soooo tiny. It is hard to make even the most awesome cloth diaper fit on such a small tush. On top of the previous reasons, I was so tired that any extra hassle at all wasn’t worth it for me. I was lucky to do MY laundry much less little poopy diaper laundry. It was really easy for us to switch over when she was a little bigger. We started using cloth diapers when she was in size ones.

 

Way more than you needed to know? I am sure. Better to have too much information than not enough.

In other news, I briefly contemplated apologizing for yesterday's rant. but I decided against it. I said it, I meant it.

I love you all! I am back to the world of Super Mario.


What's up, doc?

Lily had her 4 month wellness visit today. The doctor said she is perfect! She now weighs 15 lbs 12 oz and is 25 inches long! She got two shots in each leg and an oral vaccination. The appointment was at the crack of dawn which means we set out well before sunrise to make it in time. We were late. We are always late. Lily was amazingly well behaved and didn't even wail for her shots. What a good girl!

She ate her very first bowl of cereal today. It was hilarious. She LOVED it. All grins and giggles, my girl. We had a good day!

Tomorrow should prove to be interesting... I'll let you know... Rather not talk about it just yet. You know how it is...

In other news... I have a wonderful husband. I do not know what i would do without him. He's my rock.

I was very excited to hear Mumford and Sons on the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy... So excited in fact that i have told everyone i know and a few people i don't know just for good measure.

I like Better Homes and Garden magazine. I have subscribed to it for years... I enjoy the recipes and the nifty little how to's... I do think sometimes they should change their name... Possible alternatives include: "Better Than Your Home and Garden"  "Better Homes and Gardens Than You Can Afford" "Better Homes and Garden... Keep Dreaming"
i'm just sayin.

FOR THE RECORD:
1) Neither I nor Josh put our child on a schedule. She happens to sleep through the night and eat at super convenient intervals throughout the day. We feed her when she is hungry and let her sleep when she wants to sleep. She's a baby.
2)I DO NOT think you should just let a baby cry. So, i don't.
3) I don't care if you think my baby is fat. I think you should feed yours something besides tater-tots for breakfast.
4) I HATE people that talk shit behind their "friends" backs, especially about their parenting choices. Parent your own child. When you are doing everything right and you have the "perfect" offspring... email your suggestions from Stepford. Until then...
5) If you have something to say... SAY IT. Don't skirt the issue or post it in your Facebook status as vaguely as possible.
6) Be nice to the people who work the register at stores and wait on you in restaurants. It's a job. It usually sucks. They don't need you making it worse and trust me on this your life would in fact be worse if they weren't there.
7)If you don't care. Don't read it.

seven is the number of completion right? well i have one more.

don't lie to your friends. it's not good. it sucks. if you don't want someone to know about it.... don't do it. if you do it... tell them flat out that you don't want to talk about it. i'm serious.

ok... i have been awake since 5:30 and it is showing in my pleasant demeanor. I am going to go to bed now. I do love you all. This is true... Nobody reads this that i don't love... i'm not that interesting...

*SPOILER ALERT*
Tomorrow is going to be a cloth diapering post... just thought i would give the warning for those who could care less.

i hope you all had a wonderful day and a fabulous week!
Welcome to the weekend!!!



10 pounds.

over ten pounds of formula i can't use.

awesome.

on the other hand the people at diapers.com and the people at Abbot Nutrition are all extremely helpful and polite.

i appreciate people who appreciate kindness.

super early appointment for Lily at the doctor tomorrow...

sweet dreams!


bleh.

i'd say it has been a rather uneventful day.

really uneventful.

Lily and i went to Wal*Mart. woot wahoo... I went in for a $2.00 bottle of Fray-Check and left $52.00 later. Thus is life.

Been listening to Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. It is amazing. Lily and i are enjoying it quite a bit.

I HATE UPS. just a little. they didn't bring my diapers.com order today. grrrr. arrrrr.

Similac has had a HUGE recall. someone in quality control is losing their job. on the up note... I have apparently been feeding my baby bits of ground up beetle. this apparently won't cause her a vast amount of harm... just some gas. i'm going to be super pissed if the six tubs i just ordered for the month are part of the tainted lot. super pissed. mega pissed and apparently S.O.L.

she makes such sweet noises when she sleeps. makes me a happy momma.

well... as interesting as i am tonight... i'll free your mind and not waste another 45 seconds of your life.

maybe i'll be super witty and funny tomorrow!
we will just plan on that. k?  k.


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and the world spins madly on

a friend of mine lied to me. someone i would have never expected to lie to me. it wasn't a lie of necessity. it was just a lie. not a yes or no lie either, but a long elaborate lie. i don't know how to explain how hurt i am by this. not only did they lie to me, but they lied to me about something that is so very important to me. i have been processing this for about 3 days now... i still haven't come to a place where i know what to think or feel about it... or what to do about it.

as bobby says... "the times they are a-different."

I'm really digging The Weepies right now... The World Spins Madly On is a great song. i likes it. lots. like i likes modcloth.

diapers.com is my friend. my dear, dear friend.

I am also liking Bell X1... Rocky Took a Lover speaks to me because my ass is the perfect height for kicking too...

i am tired.

i made myself 7 skirts on sunday. i'm very proud. i bought nothing to make them. uber green of me.

Josh and i have been married for two years as of saturday. He made me a soap mold for our anniversary. it was the most awesome gift ever. i am a dork.

He got his MCAT scores today. I am super proud of him.

Med school here we come.

I feel super dorkish because i got to give cloth diaper advice... and i actually had opinions and something to say. i remember when i was trying to figure out what the hell i was doing... seems like a long time ago.

why lie? what purpose does it serve? it would be one thing if i asked a question and you told me it was none of my business... it is a whole other thing when i ask and you tell me this whole elaborate plan you have. it is a whole other thing entirely when after you have told me this "plan" (read "charade") and then tell MY HUSBAND the truth. dipshit. i think it is salt in the wound that i have known them longer... years longer. whatever.

i sound like a hurt teenager.

nah... haven't said enough "bad" words.

my baby is beautiful. i have a wonderful husband. my cats are the sweetest fur people ever. i adore my life and my friends.

i'm going to bed and the world spins madly on.


Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,
          For Christmas I would like a new sewing machine, lots of cash to spend at ModCloth, and a few more cloth diapers... or money to spend on cloth diapers... I have been a very good mommy and Lily has been a very good girl. She would like the same things for christmas as the sewing machine will allow mommy (me) to make her even more new clothes, the clothes from modcloth would make her mommy accessory (me) more presentable,  and the cloth diapers would cover her butt. I think this is a good plan, Santa. I hope you see things my way or these will be the last cookies and milk you ever see from my oven and fridge.
Respectfully and expectantly,
Katie




No but seriously though. I am wiped. We had to drive an hour and a half to get josh's voter registration number for an application. How silly. Why didn't they just give it to us over the phone? Because they can't... i know. It was great to get to spend 3 hours in a car with my dear husband and darling daughter. I enjoy the opportunity to get to talk to him and sit and play with her (from the confines of her carseat of course)

other than that not a whole lot has gone on today... we have been fairly boring! it has been wonderful.

oh... i'm starting another blog. it won't be for random chatting and keeping up with life and lily and whatnot... i am going another direction with it... i'll let you know...

josh is going to be gone most of the day tomorrow... you should give me a call! we'll chat!

night night world!!! remember....


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weddings, funerals and the like

it's been a while... i always say i will do better... i think i will promise to sticking to the status quo and then maybe i will have a realistic chance of blogging more.

much has happened...

captian obvious here to save the day!

We went to Justin and Ellen's wedding the last weekend in august. It was wonderful! We had an awesome time. Ellen was beautiful. Justin was happy. The wedding was great. The reception was tons of fun. It is always awesome to see people at their wedding having a good time. It is absolutely how it should be. It was great to get to hang out with everyone and i find myself being very homesick, not for a place so much as a group of people that make me a little more whole. I know i have said it before, but i am more than willing to say it again. I have amazing friends. My parents drove up and watched Lily the night of the reception so we could play and not have to worry about her. It was great to see them and to know how much they love my baby. LOL like it was ever in doubt. they are sunk. i love it.

when we got home several things happened... Josh's grandmother passed away. She had severe dementia and was in a lot of pain. It was hard to see the people that loved her suffer, but i think she is in a much more peaceful place now. They are Greek Orthodox and some nuns happened to be here visiting her when she passed. They were amazing. Lily LOVED them. i loved them.

a lot of things have changed in my life since the last post.. not huge things like new jobs or houses or general health but small things. things that have made everyday a lot more fun. things that have made everyday a lot easier and more rewarding.

my house is clean and has stayed that way for over a week. this is the first change and it is wonderful. the laundry is all clean by the end of the day and the house gets straightened up every night before i go to bed. i realized that i really don't like waking up to a dirty house. especially now that i wake up with lily, i really just don't want to deal with it. it is much better for me and my mental state if i get to get up in the morning, make a bottle and enjoy spending time with my baby.

on a crazy note I adore cloth diapers. Never realized how much money i was saving... over sixty dollars a month. we still put her to bed in a disposable, and we still use disposables when we go out because it is way too convenient, but at home we only use cloth. at two a day a box of diapers will last us almost two months... rock on. (i am rambling like a coupon cutting mom... wait... i am one.)

Lily and i have been reading at least three books a day which is also too much fun and very good for my mood. she laughs and giggles when i make funny voices or get excited during the story and we have a great time.

i have seriously cut back on TV time when josh isn't at home. It was on for about 30 mins today and that was amazing. Lily and i seem to amuse each other quite well enough! She sits and watches me fold laundry or do dishes. we listen to an audio book while we are having our bottles and i turn music on while she is napping.

Her nap times have become "me" time. That is really helping. I think i just got to a point where i wasn't doing anything for myself at all and all my time was absorbed in Lily and Josh and i forgot how therapeutic it is just to have time to do what i want to do. even if it is only emptying out my email inbox, i still really enjoy it.

I have been making it a point to call at least one friend a day. It is easy for me to get into a hermit-like rut and shut the world out. When i get to spend time with my friends and be near them for several days it drives home the understanding that i really rely on them and miss them something fierce. So i have been texting and calling and trying to do better. i still have miles to go.

Josh and i have started competing on Wii fit. it is hilarious. (i am a waaaay better loser) we have a lot of fun with it though and i remember everyday how lucky i am to have married my best friend.

i wrote a kid's book today... i like it. it is the first "creative" thing i have done since the dresses i made for lily while i was in arkansas. i love my mom's sewing machine. i want one.

Josh gave Lily a bath alone for the first time tonight! he did a very good job! he is such a nervous papa. he worries about hurting her. he is amazing with her.

Little girl is almost four months old and it is amazing to me how quickly those four months have gone. she is growing so quickly. we have a lot of fun with her. she is such a happy baby.

I had a really bad day of missing Erin the other day. It has been happening with alarming frequency since i had Lily. I think she would have loved her Aunt Erin. I think Erin would have thought she was perfect. It is hard knowing that my best friend will never see my baby. It is hard knowing i won't see my best friend. i wouldn't trade having had her though. i would rather have memories than never have known her... even if it hurts.

i really should blog more often.

ok guys i think you are all up to speed.


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