Sunday, August 31, 2008


I am a night-owl. There is just something about the peacefulness of a quiet house that is very relaxing to me. Hubby goes to bed earlier & wakes up earlier, leaving me with! I pretty much always do a craft: knitting, cross-stitching, scrapbooking or sewing. Sometimes I make to-do lists for the next day, research new recipes, or menu plan. I pretty much always try to do something productive balanced with something relaxed. Friday night, I cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed {got a bunch of sound sleepers here!}, and gave myself a manicure. Last night I went through several bins of clothes in preparation for an upcoming garage sale. Tonight, I will go through another bin, work on my to-do list for tomorrow, with a little cross-stitching in between. {Since we canceled our DishNetwork, I've been watching TidalTV from time to time as well.} I like getting things done at night. Almost makes me feel like I've got a little jump-start on the next day. Besides that, tasks go a bit a whole lot faster without three children and a husband needing to be cared for!

Any other night-owls out there? Whadda ya like to do at night?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The "A" Word

It makes me want to run for cover. It makes some people just cringe at the thought of it. I'm sure many are scared or unwilling to ask for it, while many others embrace the thought of it. In a walk of faith though, it is necessary & good. This awful awesome word?


I wish I had many good things to say about this concept. I long to share how accountability has been a blessing in my life and in the lives of others. Maybe the blessings are slow coming & maybe there have been some that I am just unaware of. It seems there is ONE sure-fire way for YOU to stray from your desired course of action: Ask ME to keep you accountable for it. Somehow I am a magnet for those who want accountability, but then stray & reject my counsel.

"Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning."

~ Proverbs 9:8-9

I have grown skeptical in recent days that there are even relationships that exist where the people can hold each other to higher standards. I don't just mean encouragement or motivation or inspiration. I am a big believer in "iron sharpening iron" or as I like to say "spurring each other on to greater things", but accountability is *so* much more than that. Isn't it? There have been lots of cases recently when I really wished I could have spoken truth {drenched in love} into my friends' lives saying something like, "God really doesn't want you to be doing that....."

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." ~ Galatians 6: 1-2

It just doesn't seem like many people embrace accountability these days, especially when they didn't ask for it in the first place. Maybe I'm mistaken, but it seems to me that when we, as Christians, become part of the Kingdom Family, accountability is just part of the package, whether we like it or not. I'm sure there have been plenty of times when I didn't respond as well as I should have to some rebuke or other wise counsel, but that would only be because of my own foolishness.

My notes-to-self & questions to ask the next time someone asks me to keep them accountable:

How serious are you about this matter? How badly do you want to "not stray"? You would think that just the act of asking for accountability would indicate their seriousness, but I don't believe this is always the case.

How does accountability look in a practical way?
Do you want me to ask you about this once a week? Once a month? Nearly every day?

Who should I ask to get involved if you start backsliding into your old ways? I think this is pretty important, then if that person doesn't follow through, they won't be surprised when you show up with the pastor/husband/parent to sit down and have a talk.

What Bible verses {if applicable} are going to help you in your desired actions? "I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You."

The worst note of all?

Be prepared for a broken or lost relationship. This is an unfortunate & distinct possibility. I am grieving over this reality as we speak. If the other person begins making wrong choices & rejects our counsel, they may distance themselves from us because *we* remind people of what they had held in their hearts at one time & the commitment that they had made to us, themselves, and God.

I am totally un-perfect & I don't want to seem like I have this issue all figured out. These are just some things that I've learned {the hard way} throughout my adult life. I believe that accountability can be a beautiful thing. I have to believe that. Now that I think about it, I have been honored, simply by the fact that people have felt safe enough to choose me to come alongside them in their walk.

Maybe you are scared of accountability. Maybe you have seen the blessings of it. Maybe you have seen relationships broken because of it. Maybe you don't think you really need it.

In any case, I'd love for you to share your thoughts.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
~ Hebrews 10: 24

Monday, August 25, 2008

Win Some, Lose Some

I *love* it when a plan comes together. That said, we all know what sometimes happens to even the best laid plans. Let's start with the one that went awry.

I was trying to make a pattern for a Kitchenaid cover for a friendly blog reader. I measured. I re-measured. I planned. I felt confident. {First sign that a plan will inevitably go haywire.} I would have felt terrible if she would've just followed my diagrams, cut her precious fabric & then have the pattern not work out. To avoid such an inevitable awful situation, I figured I better just cut some of my own scrap fabric following the pattern right quick. Um, yeah. Here is the evidence that I tried:

:: maybe it can be saved? ::

It isn't too easy to make something fit nicely on an object that isn't very, um, nicely shaped. The front is wider than the back, leaving way too much excess fabric than I had planned. I did manage to repin the whole thing to see if I can get it to fit better. Dear Andrea, you might be better of just buying a pattern from JoAnn's when they go on sale for 99-cents. I'm sure you could tweak it to look like the one you saw at Target :>)

Now for the plan that *worked*.
:: pink damask on the outside ::

:: rainbow of colors inside ::

I had seen crayon rolls {most recently at Steph's blog} and pencil rolls, but really loved the rolls that had the fabric in each slot matching the crayon/pencil color. I think it just adds a really cool dimension to the whole project, not to mention can work as a great teaching tool for the little ones as they need to match the colors. I had this project already in the works & decided to pull it altogether just in time for my 6-year old niece's birthday gift. You could probably do velcro on a strap to hold the whole thing closed, instead of tying a ribbon. I think the ribbon makes it look prettier, not to mention being good practice for bow-tying, yes? I envision several of these as Christmas gifts, when paired with a personalized sketchpad or coloring book. The best part? Using up the scraps that I've been saving makes this a pretty & *pretty frugal* project.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Frugal Find

In an attempt to change a certain behavior, I am giving myself some rewards along the way {kind of like a sticker chart for grown-ups}. My first reward? A hair cut {needed} and an eyebrow wax {the reward part}. Total cost: $11 {$10 for the cut + free wax with a coupon + $1 tip} . I discovered this great deal at a local beauty school. And I realized two things 1) part of your money at a salon pays for THE experience and 2) if you are willing to forego the experience, you can get yourself some great deals on beauty treatments. If you are interested, I went here. If you have never received beauty school treatments {this was my first time}, enjoy my candid information & tips based on my experience:

Make an appointment. This school accepts walk-ins, but only if they have enough students to accommodate. Otherwise, you'll be waiting.

Plan LOTS of time. It took nearly 2 hours for the cut & wax.

You are basically their practice. If you are overly fussy about your style, don't have a lot of patience, or have lots of disposable income, then this frugal find probably isn't for you. These students have been in classes for several months before they ever arrive at the cutting chair. The students have your cut approved by an instructor before they make the first snip. An instructor also double-checks the cut after the student is finished to see if any areas needed touching up. My cut did not.

This is NOT a spa. Remember: this is more like a college classroom than anything, hence sometimes the chatter & atmosphere reflects that.

Not only for cuts. The school I went to offers lots of services, basically anything you'd find at a full-service salon. So if you're too nervous to have them come at you with scissors, maybe a frugal manicure or pedicure would suit you. Highlights? Up-do for a special occasion? Take your daughter for a mommy/daughter treatment?

Will I go again? Most definitely! {My student was Mallory, in case you decide to go soon.} Ya just can't beat the price for some really great beauty treatments {unless of course you did it yourself......}

Ever received beauty school treatments? Got another frugal beauty find to share?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talk About It: Kids on Leashes

At a recent outdoor church gathering, I was somewhat surprised to see a woman with a child on a leash. Maybe the appropriate term is "tether"? {If you're not familiar: the child wears sort of a harness, then there is a long strap that attaches to the back that the caregiver can then hold onto or can wear around their wrist.} My first thought was, "Wouldn't it just be easier to train that child not to run off?" Now maybe this wasn't the child's parent, so the caregiver just didn't want to take chances. I could see if maybe you were in a super crowded situation like a bustling airport at rush hour or wall-to-wall people at an outdoor event. But at a church picnic?

What do you think? Child leashes: Appalling or appropriate??

As always......

Rules: Play nicely. We all have our own opinion, but let's be thoughtful and respectful of one another.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sometimes I Pickle Him

Photo by SiFu Renka

There are several books & magazines next to my bed for occasional night time reading. One of them is an anthology of food writings by the famous James Beard, an enormous icon in the food world. Wikipedia goes so far as to say that he "is recognized by many as the father of American gastronomy".
{I am a foodie, in case you haven't been reading this blog for long.} I picked up the book and read an essay the other night about pickles. Fascinating stuff. I love me a good pickle. Nowadays, the word "pickle" is pretty much synonymous with a pickled cucumber, but a pickle is any food, which has had the pickling process done to it, yes? {Hang in there, I'll be getting to a point later.} Mostly the food is put into a jar with spices & a vinegar solution. Vinegar. Yum. Useful for many things. Making pickles, salad dressings, and natural cleaning are some that come to mind.

Hold that thought.

Hubster & I had been having some fellowship these last couple of weeks {and I don't mean the nocturnal kind}. It's like something in our communication systems went haywire & the whole husband/wife processes were affected. It wasn't pretty. (I think the virus that infiltrated our communication system was called Stress 5.0). So during system debugging one discussion {where we were talking about our marriage}, I came to realize that I tend to use snappy little {sometimes snide} remarks to try and get my points across. Usually it happens when I think something is really important to me & hubs either doesn't "get it" or I feel he isn't taking me seriously.

Hold that thought too.

Ya know that saying "You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar." Whelp, sometimes I like to use the vinegar. I pour out those vinegary comments on him, hoping that'll get his attention.

Ok. Now take that saying & put them there two thoughts together.....


I pickle him. A husband pickle, folks.

I told him that, which served for a great & much needed laugh. And now that I'm more self-aware, I'll be trying my darndest to be that quiet, gentle spirit I know I can be. A crown to my husband, instead of a constant dripping. I'll be using that honey {and maybe a little butter too} to try and get my points across. Out with the pickles!

Anyone else out there making husband pickles? Let's pour the honey on our hubbies together. I'd love to hear from you. You're so close to the comment button already, ya might as well click it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pretty Little Things

Um, yeah. So this is not deja vu or anything, but yet another post on pretty little things. I think I have been experiencing a resurgency in my creative juices because a) my baby is getting older & not so needy-as-a-newborn and b) necessity indicates that we be "creative" with our finances. That second one is important because making/finding/admiring pretty little things gives me a sense of satisfaction & feeling-goodness in the same way that retail therapy does {but of course you have no clue about retail therapy, right}? Plus, learning to see beauty, even in the smallest thing, is just plain enjoyable.

First up....Not quite a pretty little thing, but more of a nifty thing. I finally figured out how to use a feed reader, which is totally revolutionizing my computer time. A glance at one page tells me who's posted something new for me to read. Totally sweet! Along with some of my blogging friends, I am keeping track of Today's Creative Blog and How About Orange {Money Saving Mom, Simple Mom & Sew, Mama, Sew are givens}! If you don't use a feed reader, you should. Seriously.

Here's a pretty little thing I made recently:

Tatiana collected the rock on a birthday adventure at Lake Michigan. The only supplies you need are a BIG rock that has a large semi-flat surface & rub-ons {a scrapbooking product}. I was going to do the words "Pure Joy" or "Faith", but somehow this verse came to me. If you look it up, you'll see why {I know, I know, I have a corny sense of humor}. Best part = FREE!

Did you know that every month I download a free creatively designed desktop from the Shabby Princess blog? You need some sort of photo-editing program to add your pics, but it only takes a couple of minutes for a pretty little desktop that lasts all month. Here's the one I made for this month:

The nice thing about it is that, besides being totally cute & free, there is always a space for the desktop icons on the left-hand side, so it's not like you have to move them around every month.

Have you discovered Wordle yet? You just enter in the addy of your blog & pick your design/colors & then it will make this creative little wordle picture for you. Here is mine:

If you click on it, you can see it much bigger. It takes all the words from whatever URL you enter & makes a fun wordie image. You can play around with the layout, fonts, colors, etc. Looks like I should rename this blog: Just One Detergent Party.

Enjoying any pretty little things lately? If you decide to wordle, please leave me a comment so I can come check it out!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

And the Winner is....

You guys have such great ideas! I'm totally diggin' the ice cream sundae bar. Since I'm the Queen of Trying-to-Do-Too-Much Over-the-Top, I would probably have about 10 15 20 different toppings to choose from. I do have to agree that Chuck E. Cheese parties are really super. I've done one there & it's so little work. If I had *unlimited* funds, I'd do lots of my parties at different venues. {Royal Caribbean birthday, anyone?} And even though I know that making my own cake is cheaper, I usually have so many other things to do & food to make, that it's just plain easier to purchase one. I'm trying to simplify, really, I am. Enough about me, let's announce the winner, shall we? I would've taken a picture of the winning name, but hubby took the camera to work today. I do have a newly-7-year-old witness who chose the name.......

Congrats my dear friend! I will get you your prize asap. {Probably hand-delivered, if you don't mind!}

**Edited to Add: I think we can see what happens when I have too many balls in the air, yes? If any more comments are received with best frugal party tips on the previous giveaway post, then I will draw a second winner tomorrow morning. Otherwise, we'll just keep things as is. My apologies!!**

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Party Notes + Giveaway

I survived our first ever kids-only party, thanks to the help of my uber wonderful hubby & my dear neighbor, the mom of one of our guests. She helped me hold down the fort for about half the time. I think that was about as much girly-energy as this house has ever seen. There was screaming, there was dancing, there was water-fun, there was one really happy birthday girl.

My personal pizza idea didn't go over as well as I expected. The girls *loved* making them, but they didn't get gobbled up like I thought they would. Maybe other girls don't love pizza {or homemade ones?} as much as my kids do. Or maybe the pizzas were just so big that they were scary. I don't know. The cupcakes on the other hand, I think are just beeeaauutiful. They look {at least to me} like they came from some NYC bakery. I think I will be making these often. I think they're pretty enough to bring to a gathering. Maybe with different pastel shades of frosting. The delicate sprinkles are just the right touch, yes?

They tasted as good as they looked, although one girl was just a frosting-eater & one girl told me that her & her other little friend "didn't really like them". {My ego was only slightly bruised.} The low-cost goodie bags came together nicely, thanks to my little creation, the Target dollar spot {pencils}, as well as a great CVS deal I happened to come upon right before the party. {I spent 1 penny on seven gargantuan Hershey's bars, a package of eight mini-Reese's and a 3-pack of Trident gum. Willy Wonka would be proud.} Total cost per goodie bag: about 50 cents, including the bag!

:: all dressed up & waiting to go ::

And in honor of all this party fun & frugal creativity, and since I'm sure you are tired of reading about the hair clips I thought I'd share some of the goodness here. I am giving away this pretty little thing:

Simply leave a comment with your favorite low cost party tip by midnight on Wednesday, August 6th & a random winner will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

Good luck, ya'll.

P.S. I've been playing with Photoshop to enhance the photos. Likey?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Pretty Little Things

Because it might as well be pretty.... ...

This is a reclaimed salsa jar. I love these jars as they are pretty heavy for their size, plus they have amount markings embossed in the glass. I have a bottle of silver spray paint in the basement, leftovers of a long ago costume project, that came in handy for spraying the lid. A couple of baby food jar lids got makeovers as well.

{P. S. If you want to "test" the dishwasher detergent, but don't have the ingredients, just let me know & perhaps I can send you a sample!}


A birthday gift for a friend {sure hope you don't read this before tonight!} that I designed myself. I picked out all the beads at the Big Bead Show I went to in June.

It bears a lot of significance for her right now & I hope she loves it! I also am having one made for myself with a stone at the bottom that says "create", so we will have semi-matching necklaces. Can't wait til it's done!


These little pretties are destined for some birthday goodie bags for our first-ever kids' party tomorrow.

Here is a tutorial for the yo-yo's, to which I just added a button & hot glued onto the metal hair clips {sold as quilting clips in the fabric department, who knew?} I kind of wish the clips where much smaller, so that the yo-yos would completely cover the clip, but I'm trying to keep it frugal by using what I have.

Aren't they cute? Super-simple project, made with things on hand, oh, and a bit of love too.