Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap and Tree Huggin'

Today I mixed my very first batch of homemade laundry soap using these three ingedients. SUPER easy. I grated a bar of ivory soap (yes, using my kitchen cheese grater) and then mixed it with the washing soda and borax and viola! Powdered laundry detergent!

I only need to use one tablespoon per load.

In other news, I got my clothesline in from Amazon yesterday and hung it the tree waaaaaay out in the yard, and it reaches almost all the way to the house. I can hang 40 feet of laundry outside! Just call me the pioneer woman!

Oh, and here's the clothespin bag I made from a kitchen towel. Took about 20 minutes, total cost: $0

Come on summer!! I can't wait to see my laundry flapping in the breeze!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Size update

Just so I know it's written down somewhere, I'm posting the kids sizes here. Someday I'm going to scrapbook and write it all down, and when(if) that day comes I'll know where it's written... in cyberland.

Caleb Alan - 4 years old
39 pounds
41.5 inches tall
Size 4T give or take a smaller waist measurement or a longer Tshirt
Show size 10W

Carly Hope - 2 years old
28 pounds
34.5 inches tall
Size 2T with short legs
Shoe size 6ish XW (poor baby and her cube feet!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I have a motion picture in my mind of what the insides of Greg's kidneys look like. It's like one of those old-school sci-fi movies with the shrinking spaceship that somehow gets into the human blood stream. Traveling along a mostly red river of blood cells with the occasional white blood cell to dodge, we finally arrive into a huge cavern with lots of white spiky round things attached to the ceiling, walls, and floor of this space. It's like Carlsbad Caverns with good ole East Texas "stickerburrs" all over the place. As we try to exit the cavern, we spy a problem. "Sir, the tunnel is blocked." "Blocked?" "Yes, sir. Blocked. It appears one of the larger strange spiky things has detached from the wall and blocked our exit." "Hmmm, that is a problem."

I like to think I have the potential to be a great movie writer. But since I've never actually seen a kidney stone, I've probably got it all wrong. The doctor says it's going to be brown, possible black. And who knows if it's spiky? I'm sure it feels pretty prickly in there. I don't even know if it's blocking anything. I didn't see the x-ray, and I'm not too good at reading those things anyway. "I don't see anything in that vicinity." "That's because your looking at the heart." "Ah, yes. Well." But you don't have to know facts to write sci-fi...

But we (he, really) have a decision to make. Let it lie and hope it scrapes its way out, send in the spaceship on a retrieval mission, or blast it from the outside with sound waves.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I've recently gotten back on board with Dave Ramsey, and sticking more closely to a budget every month. We did the Financial Peace University about two years ago, and were impressed with ourselves with how much we were already doing right. We didn't implement anything new really. Silly pride and all. But we weren't getting anywhere, just staying in the same place. Now that we're self-employed, there is no built-in savings/retirement plan like a 401(k) for us to contribute to without thinking about it. Saving for retirement is an active process. So in order to do that, we're going to stick to a budget every month, and do anything we can to save money on other things. I've started couponing again, and impressed myself with how much I saved last week! 48% at one store, and 53% at another store. And it was only on things we actually use. I'm almost done with Walmart, because while they do match competitor ads, it's such a hassle to shop there that I've almost given it up completely. I'm budgeting myself one Walmart trip a month (maybe two if necessary).

I'm running low on laundry detergent, but really didn't want to drive up to the store just for that, so I looked online for ingredients to make my own. Yes, make my own. I can't wait to get the stuff in, and blog about that! I'll do a cost comparison too. I also bought a clothesline today to hang up outside so we can run the dryer less this summer. I'm excited about all my green-ness!

Happy belated Earth Day...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


One year ago today, my hubby walked into his office job only to return home before lunch with a cardboard box filled with 7 years worth of desk junk. He wasn't worried though. We went to the zoo that afternoon.

The next day Greg Rice's Yard Service was launched full-time and we haven't looked back. To say we've been blessed beyond measure is certainly an understatement. Throughout this last year, the Lord has shown us his exceedingly abundant favor. I mean, really, who starts a seasonal business and makes it through the winter without having to get a second job? I know, without a doubt, that Greg was meant to do this. He's perfect for it. He's really good at it, and he LOVES it. He works hard, and it pays off.

A year ago our questions were whether we could make it. This year our biggest problem is finding enough time to get all the work done fast enough! We knew in our hearts the whole time that we were doing the right thing. There was never any doubt in that. But it is hard to believe that, and not know the details. That is where our faith comes in. We know God is in this, so really, the details don't matter. It is nice to have them, but totally unnecessary. All we knew was, we were going to be okay. And we were, and are still. A little obedience to God's direction really does pour out the blessings.

Like I said, exceedingly abundant. That's what we've been given this year. Lord, we thank you for the lessons and blessings that You teach and give us every day. Without you, we can do nothing. And with You, all things are possible! We praise you for that!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Stone Belt

Did you know that we live in the Stone Belt? A little medical humor for ya. Only funny to doctors. Really, it's not that funny at all, just a nickname for the span of states between Georgia and Arizona where the most occurences of kidney stones happen.

The point, please.

Greg woke up Friday with terrific pain in his left side, right where the..... oh wait, there's really nothing in your left side. Lots of phone calls to my really wonderful nurse friend and a trip to the Urgent Care place later, he had a probable diagnosis of kidney stone. CT Scan confirmed it, and a painful weekend was what we looked forward to.

Saturday morning arrived with almost no pain at all. Weird? Apparently, Stoney has stalled. Somewhere between the kidney and the.... ummm, exit. Monday we went to a urologist who was very informative and quite interesting. The short of it: lots of small kidney stones, one big'un that's causing all the problems, x-ray now and again in a week to check Stoney's progress, and then we'll see what needs to be done. I learned a new word too: Lithotripsy. It's a doctor's showy-offy way of saying, "blast that sucker to smithereens and the pieces of it'll come on out on it's own."

So there you go. Greg mowed yards today (I maintain that sitting on his riding mower is about as hard as driving a motorized wheelchair... he even gets to stretch his legs out like an armchair!) and he's living life like normal, waiting for that stone to move. Maybe it will, maybe it won't! He feels a dull ache in his side all the time, which is from his kidney being enlarged and bothered, but other than that, he's good. Got the vicodin on stand-by, just in case.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


There is almost always at least one time in a day when I hear something come out of one of the kids' mouths that I tell myself, "I need to put that on my blog!" And usually I forget, but today I've got a couple of good ones.

#1 Since it is spring now, the flowers are blooming, and of course the bugs are waking up. There have been several crawling critters and a few flying ones around the house lately (time for Greg to spray!). The kids aren't afraid of the bugs, but they certainly don't like them. Today I was folding laundry in my bedroom when Carly squeaked and Caleb said, "Mom, there's a bug! Come squash it!" So I grabbed a paper towel, because ain't no WAY I'm going to squash a bug with my bare hands. ewwwwww! And I smooshed a fly against the back door, thoroughly killing it. Caleb says to me, "Good killing, Mom!" I just had to chuckle at that. I am so thankful for such an encouraging son!

#2 Yesterday, as is the routine at 10:00 am and 4:30 pm around here, I reminded Caleb to go sit on the potty and try to go #2. He grumbled a bit, but went in the bathroom by himself. I was getting stuff out of the pantry to get dinner going, and I hear, "EEEEEEEP!!!!" pause..... "WAAAAAHHHHHH!!!" So I hurried to the bathroom to see Caleb standing, pants down, up on his stool in front of the potty, bottom dripping wet. He fell in the potty!! I tried SOOOOO hard not to laugh... but it was so funny! Apparently, instead of pulling down his fancy little potty seat that's built in to the big potty seat, he lifted it up like he was going to go #1... and sat. Ooops. He was very embarrassed to say the least. And wet. So I told him that I had done that before, Daddy had done that before, and I'm sure Momm-o and Papaw had done it before, and wasn't that funny! I told him that is was a really funny joke and we would have to tell Daddy when he got home how funny it was. He sniffled a bit, and I dried his little bootie off and he sat back down (seat down this time!) on the potty. Thank goodness after a few minutes he was giggling about it too and when Greg got home, he ran to tell him about the funny thing he had done. Whew! So glad he wasn't scarred for life!

Today we attempted to go for another walk on that nature trail near the house, but I found out that spring brings poison ivy and poison oak in abundance out there... so we turned around and came back home, and bathed ourselves down in Germ-x for the alcohol to kill any possible itchies. Pray for us to not have any itchies!! I can't imagine a more miserable time than finding out your 4- and 2-year-old are allergic to poison oak or ivy!


Happy Spring!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter 2010

Here is the lineup from Easter this year! I didn't count the photos, but as I was uploading them it seemed this post is a bit Carly-heavy... No other reason than I have a certain son who likes to hide from the camera, not unlike a certain husband I have, who in turn gets it from certain parents. So, the girl gets the clicks! Enjoy!

~Easter Egg Hunt #1, at a church/mops friend's house~

I can't remember what this is about, but I love the face!

We had another egg hunt in our backyard for our neighbors, but sadly BOTH my cameras were out of commission. One had a full memory card, and the other had a dead battery! I am hoping one of my neighbors will email me a few pics! (hint, hint!!)

~Easter Egg Hunt #3 at our friends' house, who happen to live next door to my in-laws. Small town, you know. ~

Love this picture.. he's caught in motion.. and looks so cool!

Checking out the loot

Found one more!

The rings were prizes inside the eggs. Perfect for this little drama diva!

~Easter Sunday~

We went to an awesome worship service and Sunday School lesson, then out to the Rice's for lunch.. yummy too! Thank you P and J for such a wonderful afternoon!

Carly laughing at someone's antics

She LOVED her pretty white dress! She had been wanting to wear it for days before Easter!

This was the best picture of both of them, and the only one with Caleb making a pleasant face

One more egg hunt, just the two of them.

Opening all the eggs in comfort

"Can I pleeeeease eat this one too?"

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jan-March pictures... i know, i know!

I'm staying up way too late, but I've got to do it! Now or never. I'm what, like 3 months behind on pictures? Four? Six? Did I do Christmas? I'll catch you all up in one LONG post... now.

Ok, I went back and checked. I DID do Christmas. But lots has happened since then..

Carly Turned Two !

her talk show pose

playing with Bubba

Stinky Face!

Then we had a bug party!

Have I mentioned she makes funny faces?

Grinning through the window of her new dollhouse. Spoiled Rotten!


The eyes say it all... "Mom, BACK OFF!"

Then the sky dropped a ridiculously annoying amount of snow. (and I got a new camera)

I should totally submit this to Awkward Family Photos .com

Carly touched the snow. Once. With gloves on. Then she was done.

The back of the back yard early in the a.m.

The back yard looked quite a bit like Narnia.

The front just looked like a snow-covered house

Then Caleb turned Four!

So handsome!

So we had a tractor party!

making a craft

He loooooved being sung to.

He REALLY loooooooves attention, can't you tell?

This is the sweetest picture. After the party was over he latched on to his favorite gift. It is a tractor Granny gave him that was my Tracy's. He doesn't totally understand about Tracy yet, but my heart leaps seeing him play with the tractor so reverently.

We recently discovered this nature trail within walking distance from home. So we went for a walk!

Sweet siblings.. how I long for these days to never end! OK, well, remind me of that next time I whine about them bickering!

Love these East Texas pines...

Carly's a trooper.. my country girl!

Then we visited Grandma, Grandpa, and Mawmaw. Much food and many photos happened.

The highlight of the trip: tractor ride!

Love these little people!

Is this background perfect or what? This is the tack room on Grandpa's barn.. you couldn't make a more rustic-looking background! Perfect!!

Another one for Awkward Family Photos.. I completely love this!

Me and my boy

After Carly threw a fit and refused to walk another step, I went around the corner and waited. She eventually decided since she was left out in the woods alone, to find a stick and a leaf, and talked to herself about it while she tromped back to me.

Another perfect background.. couldn't plan it better!

So there you have it.. January, February, and March in one post. Easter will just have to wait for another day. I hope you feel as blessed as I did looking through these pictures!