Dryer balls update

I am still loving my Dryer balls. I can now choose what my clothes will smell like by my choice of essential oils. Lavender is my favorite. I just add 1-2 drops of essential oil to each ball in the dryer when I put the laundry in the washer. I also have a steam cleaner for my floors. Now I can just throw the cleaning pads in the washer since I don’t use fabric softener. The directions say not to wash them with fabric softener. HA they are right. I tried that once, and the next time I cleaned the kitchen floor, it became a sort of skating rink! The steam released the fabric softener … all over the floor. 

Moved the garden indoors

About two years ago, I was perusing “the middle” (as we like to call it) at BJ’s and saw an item called an Aero Garden. I was intrigued, but decided I needed to do some more research before I bought one.  I’m glad I did as the one I saw had CFL lights (which need to be changed every 6 months).  All the new models have LED lights on them.  So I opted to spend a bit more and get the AeroGarden Ultra LED – pictured.  Started the custom herb kit that was included.  Everything grew well except the chives.  AeroGarden is a Miracle Grow product, and they have great support.  All their items are guaranteed to grow.  If something doesn’t germinate, just give them a call and they will send out a replacement pod.  I’ve done herbs twice, cherry tomatoes once and now have a second garden.  I’m about to set both up again, with some lighting improvements which will hopefully give me better growth.

The AeroGarden is a hydroponic system – no dirt, just water and nutrients.  I’ve you’ve ever been on the Living with the Land ride at Epcot, you’ve seen hydroponics there – remember the pvc pipes with the plants growing out of them?  Hydroponics promotes better and faster growth than growing in soil.  They have a lot of models and types, from 3-pod up to 9-pod now.  They have lots of sales and promotions, prices change often, and there are great sales on the older models when the new models come out.

As I’m about to set up two gardens again, one with the Cherry Tomatoes and one with either lettuce or herbs (I’ve not decided yet).  I’ll post pictures of my progress.

 

Dryer Balls!

Got a set of Woolzie Dryer Balls for Christmas…

These are great!  I’m on my 5th load and loving them.  I’m actually finding I’ve got less static than I did using fabric softener.  And here’s a hint, if you’ve got static, simply wad up some aluminum foil into a ball and add to your dryer load along with the wool balls.  I got the set that also includes a small bottle of Lavender Essential Oil – my favorite scent.  The trick to using the EO is to remember to add a drop to each ball in the dryer as soon as you add clothes to the washer.  That way, it has a chance to soak in.  OH, and we had to give up our outdoor clothesline – which I’m not happy about, but we had to take down the Leyland Cypress that hid my illegal (isn’t that stupid!) clothesline.  Planted some new bushes, but it looks like they are going to take a couple of years to take off.  So, I’m back to using the dryer, for now.  Least since I’m not working, I’ve got less laundry to do….

Best thing we did in 2016

Was to cut the cord and stop paying for TV and the landline. Saving $1200 a year!  We only pay for internet.

We ordered an antenna, yes there IS still free Over-the-Air TV!  We opted for the ClearStream 2V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna with Mount – 60 Mile Range. Most of our TV stations are within a few degrees of each other, so it works well. I was amazed at how many stations it pulled in. We get the big 3 major networks, Fox, PBS, The CW, Ion, QVC, HSN, plus a whole host of “substations”. If you are not familiar with OTA TV, each station has multiple broadcasts, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, etc.

We pair the broadcasts with Netflix. We could supplement with Hulu or Sling TV, but we are not big TV watchers. We also have our own DVR, and can record all the shows we want with no monthly fee.  And actually the OTA broadcast is better than what we got via cable. No more snow like days gone by. Sure, occasionally the picture will pixelate a bit, but not often. We just reversed the cables and splitters in the attic and basement and are using the same hookups as the cable. We are running 5 TVs off the one antenna.

As we only get a few calls via our landline, but didn’t want to give up our number or talking on our portable phones, and as ATT has actually admitted we do indeed live in a “dead zone” with poor cell reception, we opted to go with a VoIP service to route our calls over the internet. I chose to buy an Ooma Bluetooth device

It’s all working great! I’ll never go back to paying for TV again.  There is certainly no show we can’t live without!

New Chapter

Wow. Has it really been 4 years since my last post?  Well, I plan to change that going forward.

My job of 17 years was eliminated last week. I think the only thing I will miss is the paycheck and benefits. So for now, I’ve more time to devote to the things I love to do. Matter of fact, I’ve got an embroidery project – almost a year in the making – that I’ve got to go photograph and get listed in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

Solar Update – Sans the Kids

Our youngest son announced in March that he was moving out.  Wow, that was not expected.  Took a good bit of time getting used to.  I don’t see or hear from him as often as I do my daughter, and I miss him terribly.

However, on the plus side, we’ve noticed a positive thing – our electric use has gone down.  We went into this ungodly month of July with a 952 kWh CREDIT.

Our electric usage for the year in 2010 was 13,980 kwh (daughter moved out July 2010) and 2011 was 9,243 kwh.  To be honest, I have to attribute a good bit of that decrease to replacing our 110-volt pool filter with a much more efficient multi-speed 240-volt one.  So far this year tho, we’ve had an excess generation since February.  Our son was working 12 or 24-hr shifts and not home much before he moved out.  PLUS the last two winters, I have dried our clothes as much as possible on racks in front of the woodstove.  Amazing how much energy a dryer uses.  In the spring, summer and fall, the clothes go out on the line (just don’t tell the neighbors)

Here is a snapshot of our solar generation and usage:

New camera

I’ve been a photo buff for a long time.  I gave myself a gift of a film SLR camera for my high school graduation present.  A Fujica SLR.  Nothing takes a picture like a SLR Camera.  Like every one else, I got into digital photography years ago with my first camera that was not even measured in mega pixels, but rather by image size – 640×480.  Now my cell phone takes better pics that that one did.  Then Canon announced the Digital Rebel. Finally, a digital SLR I could afford!  Even tho I paid a fortune for it.  When I first got it in April of ’04, I took it everywhere, carted the camera bag around instead of a purse.  Decided a while later that I really needed a good point & shoot camera, so I got a Canon D-9, which at 12.2 mp was better than the Rebel at 6.3, so the Rebel got shuttered off to the side a bit.

But back at Christmas time, I took a trip to Longwood Gardens.  Decided the Rebel had to go along on this trip.  That’s when I decided that maybe it was time for a new DSLR.  Happened to get an email from Brads Deals with a link to a deal at Buy.com for a Canon T3 and Pixma Pro printer for $817 with a $400 rebate.  Too good a deal to pass up!  So, I ordered, and sold the old Rebel and the printer for $400.  Combined with the rebate, that netted me a new camera for $17!  Can’t beat that with a stick!

The boots update

The second pair of boots – the Brielle arrived and fit as nicely as the Brinkley’s do.  Yeah!

The saga gets even better…. As I am fortunate to live close enough to the Dansko Company Store in Jennersville, I buy my shoes there.  Got an email from them with 15% off coupon.  Lo and behold when I went to the store they had the Brinkley boots in stock – at $35 less than I paid online.  Guess what got shipped back to 6pm.com post haste?  Had picked up another pair of shoes while at the outlet that I decided just were not quite right.  Took them back last week.  As they only give a store credit instead of a refund I decided to look again while I was there and sitting on the top shelf just waiting for me was a pair of the brown Brielle in my size.  Boy did I snatch them up quickly and make a quick exit.  Guess what got shipped back to onlineshoes.com?  Yup, the first pair of the Brielle.  Saved myself $63 to boot (pun intented!)

So, thanks to Dansko, I don’t hate my feet quite so much “)

“Can I help you?” / “Probably not…do you have new feet in the back???”

Did you ever really, really, I mean really want to trade in a part of your body for new?  Of course, we all do.

For me, it’s the feet.  I literally hate my feet.  Thanks Dad.  For I inherited his wide feet with a high instep, and absolutely the worst shape for most shoes.  I mean they look like duck feet.  Daisy would have an easier time shopping at PayLess or KMart than I do.

I decided I’d like a pair of high dress boots this winter.  HA.  Good luck with that idea kiddo…. I go into stores, ask if they have anything in a Wide-Wide width and far too often the answer is *no*.  I found a couple pairs in a *wide* width online (at a really great sale price) so I ordered. And promptly sent back.  Wide according to just whose standards??  My sister took a pair that were almost too tight on her size 8 narrow foot!

I literally only buy Dansko shoes and clogs any more.  Thank goodness I live near their “Company Store” in Jennersville, PA where their shoes are 50% off.  Tho it’s a crapshoot as you never know what styles they’ll have in your size.  But I like shopping there because their shoes are hand-crafted and if (like me) you have one foot almost a size bigger than the other or (like me) have one foot a size wider than the other (did I mention I hate my feet??) you can pull 4 or 5 pairs off the racks and mix and match till you find the one that’s got just a bit larger right foot, etc.

So when the email came in advertising Dansko at 40% off at 6pm.com – well I just had to go look.  Found a pair of their Brinkley boots and thought I’d give them a try. Never mind that they were 4 times the price of the ones I previously ordered…

Thought maybe if I ordered in a size larger, there was some snowball’s chance they’d fit.  Well, lo and behold – they did!  Tho the right leg just wouldn’t zip all the way up my larger calf.  Did I mention besides the wide foot, high instep and mis-matched feet I have larger calves?  So I wandered around a bit figuring they’d stretch out some and after about a half hour, they had stretched enough to zip them up.  I’m not saying I’ve got mis-matched legs too… must be the boots 😉  By morning, they zipped up with no trouble.   Matter of fact, I was so thrilled to find they actually FIT that I ordered their sister pair – the Brielle – in brown.  Now we just have to wait and see if I’ll be so lucky with the second pair.