Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Glass Cleaner

In my new role as a Domestice Engineer (click here for that post), I am looking for ways to save money and cut costs.

I've always been a "coupon clipper", but I went from a semi-casual clipper to a more attentive and focused clipper now that I'm blessed with more time - matching ads and coupons together. I hope to blog more about "couponing" in the future. In these past 2 weeks, I've saved a good amount of money thanks to coupons so hopefully I can share some tips and ideas.

But today I wanted to share another way to save money - making things at home. There are several ways to save money while staying right inside your home. Whether it be with meals and cooking, making homemade gifts, crafting, being resourceful with items around the house, making a few budget changes...and so on, there are ways to save at home.

Today, I wanted to share that I've been making my own glass cleaner. I purchased a spray bottle at the dollar store and mixed up my own cleaner. I haven't bought glass cleaner at the store sense. Luckily I already had the ingredients since they are common household prouducts, but they are super cheap if you don't have them. Once you buy them, they will last a while so you can make this over and over.

To make your own you will need vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Depending on the size of your spray bottle, you may need to double this recipe or cut it in half - adjust however necessary. For my bottle, I used 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of vinegar. I also bought the cheapest bottle of the vinegar and rubbing alcohol - brand doesn't matter. Remember, we want to SAVE money!

Meet the cast of characters...

I poured each ingredient into the bottle through a funnel, put the sprayer on and gave it a good shake...

And there you have it. It doesn't smell the best, but it works! When the bottle is empty, I'll just make more. You could even add blue food coloring if you want to make it look like Windex - hah! I left mine au naturale.

Like I said, I hope to share more ways to save money in the future. I'm not an expert by any means. I'm learning too and looking for tips from others and online, but I want to share with you too anything that might help. My Mom said instead of "Hints from Heloise" maybe I could share "Recommendations from Riley". I like it!

On a completely different note, I am busy preparing for our trip to Mount Vernon. We will leave tomorrow afternoon when John is off work. We haven't been to visit John's family since Christmas so we are due for a visit. Our nephew Jacob is also graduating from 6th grade and he and his brother Isaac will be playing in a weekend baseball tournament we'll be able to go to. There will also be lots of eating, visiting and game playing. It should be a great trip. Until we meet again...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Grammy ~ My Memories

Next Tuesday, May 24th, will mark one month since Grammy passed away and went to be with the Lord. She died peacefully on Easter morning. Although a month has passed, my heart still hurts and I am deeply saddened. I know that time heals pain, but as the years go on, I will always remember her, think of her and miss her...just as I do with my other grandparents.

I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and share a few pictures. I have some special memories I wanted to relive. Though it may be a little random and out of order, I want to share my thoughts and recollections with Grammy.

I remember...

I remember cooking and baking with you. I remember watching you in the kitchen. Still to this day, your coconut pie and chocolate pie are my favorite. When I make chocolate pie, I use your recipe - what a treasure. I loved that you would always make both of them together. Never did I remember you making a chocolate pie without a coconut pie to join it. I never liked meatloaf, and still don't, but I remember loving to help you make it for you and Flash. I loved to get my hands all dirty by squishing the hamburger meat with crackers, tomato sauce and other ingredients. It was great fun! I even rember the bowl you used - it was a lemon yellow plastic bowl with handle and spout. I'm so thankful that you gave that to me a few months ago. I've used it so much and I think of you everytime I use it. Just yesterday, I used it to soak a bag of pinto beans in.

I remember how you and Flash were always at our activities, events and games. I'm grateful that you would come to cheerleading/football games, band performances, Girl Scout activities, parades, school programs and so on. I was lucky to have you and Flash so involved in my childhood and "growing up" years.

I remember how you would pick us up from school and we would stay at your house until Mom or Dad got off of work. I remember watching tv and having snacks after school and helping you get supper started sometimes. I also remember how we got to stay with you when we were sick and needed to stay home from school. I thought that was such a big deal. I remember how fun it was to watch game shows all day long.

I remember working with you and Flash mowing lawns in the summer. It was SO HOT, but it was neat. I remember sometimes going to McDonalds for breakfast before or after working depending on how many lawns there were that day. You always had a good supply of Squirt and Country Time lemonade iced down to keep us cool and refreshed.

I remember how much you loved to go to garage sales and how I enjoyed going along with you and Mom looking for great bargains or "treasures".

I remember you and Flash living in Durango, Colorado and how fun it was to come and visit. I adored the house you lived in and could write another post of my memories there. It was beautiful! I also remember the time I came and stayed with you when ya'll lived in Lubbock - we had lots of fun. I remember the "Santa Monica" house. Again, I could do another post just on my memories in that house - from holidays to swimming...from playing with my cousins and banana splits...from running up and down the stairs playing to walking to 7-11 for candy.

I remember your sewing and teaching me to sew a little bit. Sadly, I didn't keep up with it and I'm not a seamstress at all. I remember in high school I had to do a big project for English - it was a LOVE project and I had to do all of these various activites. You helped me sew a small blanket to use for that project. I still have it.

I remember how much you loved Tweety Bird and Droopy. They remind me of you!

I remember how much you LOVED football - high school, college and NFL. Football is in my blood thanks to you and all of our family who loves football. I remember going to games with you and watching games with you - too many to count. I remember how into the games you would get and how you would holler and yell at the tv...maybe that's where I get it! I remember working on the high school playoff brackets with you and Mom.

I remember when I was going to college and working at Engine Service, I would come and eat lunch with you and Mom a couple days a week at your house. Mom would make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chips and the three of us would watch a tv and chat.

I remember marching contest my senior year in high school. We were doing our best to make it to State Marching Contest that year (which we did -hooray!). You weren't able to watch many of my performances in high school because you were home caring for Flash. But I remember coming off of the field after performing at marching contest and standing in the parking lot visiting with everyone and up drives a golf cart with you in the passenger seat. I was so surprised and excited because you came to see me march. Wow - it's one of my most cherished memories of you.

I remember playings lots of card games and board games with you and the family. Even if you weren't up to playing, you liked to sit there and watch us play.

I remember just last year when you, Mom and I were able to spend a day together just the three of us. We started the day with Starbucks coffee and a morning visit, then we ran around town a bit and also drove by some of our old houses and took our own trip down memory lane. We went to Jason's Deli for lunch and also played a round of Liver Pool Rummy. It was a special day for us three - filled with laughs and memories.

I remember how you selflessly cared for your dearly loved Flash. You took such good care of him through his illness and loved him so much.

I could play "remember when" all day and think of story after story, but those are the ones that popped into my head first. I give thanks to God for all of my memories created and shared with you. You were so spunky and fun. You were a blast to be around - I loved it when you would get tickled. You had a great laugh. I'm glad I got to be your granddaughter.

I looked through several pictures as I was preparing to write this. It was neat to look back. Here are a few old pictures I found of Grammy and I...

I love you so much Grammy and miss you even more!

Until we meet again...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Next Chapter ~ Domestic Engineer

My dear friend Sylvia e-mailed me the following a few days ago...

"As you live your life and continue to write the 'Book of Riley', there will be many chapters. Each chapter is an opportunity to experience new things and learn life's lessons. It is a cycle you will repeat throughout your life and every chapter is important. With a heavy heart, but also a sense of relief, you will close another chapter in your book this week. Rejoice in your accomplishments and look to the next chapter with excitement. For every day is a gift from the Lord. Congratualtions on this chapter for a job well done and good luck on the opportunities you will face in your next chapter. Wishing you nothing but happiness and love!"

It was a perfect summation for what has gone on in my life this week. After 5 years of working at Lon Lovell, CPA, my time there has ended as of yesterday. I started working there on July 10, 2006 and yesterday was my last day.

Due to various reasons and factors and after lots of prayer and many talks with John, I made the decision that it was time to leave and make a change. It was a very easy decision in lots of ways, but it was difficult and sad as well. I am thankful for the opportunity that I had to work there - it was a good chapter in my life!

What is the next chapter about? It's about being a "Domestic Engineer". For as long as the Lord allows, I plan to stay home. I am not going to be employed anywhere, but my job is now taking care of our home and everything that stems from that. I know that may sound like an old fashioned or out of date concept to certain people. I tend to be pretty traditional and old-fashioned and I love nothing more than to care for our home, life and family.

Yes, it will mean a much different lifestyle. We won't have as much money and other sacrifices will have to be made, but this is something we've prayed for and about for a while and we are at peace and have full confidence in this decision. What adjustments we will have to make to compensate for this new chapter of life will be made up for in multiple ways. Our house and lives will be more calm - less hectic and stressful. We will have more time with each other and for leisure. John will be able to devote more time to his work and school because I'll be here to take care of some things he's selflessly taken on over the past few years.

I didn't just quit my job because I wanted to stay home and do nothing - you know me better than that! I quit my job to become a Domestic Engineer. And being the list maker that I am, I have a list, a REALLY LONG list of what all that will entail daily, weekly, monthly and in general.

We DO NOT take this blessing for granted. The opportunity to do this is ALL because of our great God above. I realize that this is not possible for every woman, but I'm thanking and praising God daily that he's allowed me to do this...a role that I treasure and enjoy. And THANK GOD for Dave Ramsey because through his program and system, we've been fortunate to really work on our finances the past two years. Again, we will have to make several modifications to our lifestyle, but we are a-okay with that for the positive changes it will bring to our life!

This cartoon fits perfect as I start my new job as a D.E. on Monday...

We will continue to thank the Lord for this grand blessing and pray for it to last, but we put our full faith and trust in Him and if He wants us to start another chapter in another direction, we will be obedient and forever follow Him.

Until we meet again...