Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mayonnaise, Vinegar and a Few More Twist Ties

I planned to get back here sooner, but I got held up by bugs.

My daughter, Katherine, was complaining about her head itching, and asked me to check her head. I have bad eyes, and couldn't see anything. Then she hit up the school nurse, who also did not see anything. Three days later, she went back to the nurse, with bug in hand. Yep, head lice!

The mere mention of head lice makes my head itch. Unfortunately, my daughter is a adept at bringing it home every couple years. She's twelve and I think we've had it three separate times. That's not counting the times we thought we were done and weren't . She and I both have thick, long hair so treatments are always a nuisance, not to mention expensive. Needless to say, I was on the lookout for a “home remedy” that would really work. I found one: Mayonnaise! Slather it on your child's (or your) head, wrap it up in some plastic wrap or a tight fitting shower cap and leave it on for at least four hours. The idea is to smother the little suckers.

You want to use something like Dawn dish soap to wash it out, because its going to be greasy. Then rinse the hair with Apple Cider Vinegar. Vinegar is not only a great de-tangler, it will help loosen the nits, so pulling them out will be easier.

Once you've done all that, you still need to visually check the head for nits and remove any that are still attached. Nit combs can help, but don't rely on them to get them all. This can be a tedious process, but if you leave one and it hatches, you're going to have to start all over.

From what I've been told, olive and coconut oil work well for this too, but as much hair as Kat and I have, the cost would be prohibitive, I think.

Our weather has taken a turn toward Autumn, so we've been building a fire in the wood stove in the evenings. The other night, I had a nice one going and went to close the stove. My mind must have been elsewhere, but it came back in a hurry when I realized I had attempted to close it bare handed! OUCH!

By the time I got to the kitchen, my index finger was starting to blister. I remembered something my oldest son James, told me. James has worked various kitchen jobs and is well acquainted with burns.
He discovered vinegar would take the heat out fast. He was right. By the next day, I couldn't even tell I had been burned.

So there's two for vinegar.

Back on the twist tie front: I like twist ties for everything but what they were designed for. I hate them on bread wrappers, probably because I am left-handed and the whole thing is backward for me. I also hate them for trash bags because they slip off. So when I open a new loaf of bread or a new package of trash bags, I take the twist ties and put them in a plastic container in a kitchen cabinet. That way, I have them when I need them for something for which they will actually work...like attaching cords to the ceiling. Btw, here is a pic of that.

Katherine likes to make animals out of them. She says this is a dragon...but everything is either a dragon or dinosaur for her.

One more thing that is kind of cool about saving twist ties, is that it will take a very long time for them to take over the house, unlike plastic bags, milk jugs and coffee can!
Oh, btw, its election day. Please get out and vote!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Using What You Have

When you don't have what you need, you need to use what you have.

 My grandpa's generation may have been the last to truly understand this. He was a teenager during the great depression, and his father was, well, as near as I can tell, a tightwad, skinflint, miser, or a few dozen other words used to describe someone who was not about to give up one red cent more than was absolutely necessary. Between the economy and Granddaddy, Grandpa had some interesting life lessons. He never throws anything away...ever.  My best friends father was the same, keeping used spark plugs "just in case".  Both men grew up in a time when money was scarce and both were incredibly talented when it came to "makin' do". Using what was laying around to make what they needed.

This blog is not about being miserly, rewashing plastic bags or counting squares of toilet paper (although if you want to do that, knock yourself out). Its more about not spending what you don't have to. We live in tough times, and its times like these when a little creativity can make our money go a little farther. I think most people understand that saving a dollar here can add up. Its about making the most and the best of what you have. Its about thinking outside the box to see possibilites, and its sharing those possibilities with our neighbors.

For example,  I wanted to run get some electrical cords off the floor. I knew I could go buy some zip cords and some of those little hooks you can nail into the wall or ceiling that will hold cords up and out of the way, but one, I didn't want to spend the money that I might need for milk or something later in the week, and two, I didn't want to spend the gas to make a thirty minute round trip into town. I did something I'd seen my dad do a hundred times. I walked around my house to see what I had that just might work instead. I don't remember now exactly how it came to me, but I decided to see if I could use my staple gun to attach twist ties to the ceiling. Yes, that worked, but the twist ties were too short for what I needed. Ok, so we'll use two twist ties. Two years later, those cords are still up there. I'm not even sure why I kept those twist ties, but I'm sure glad I did.

My neighbor and landlord, David, takes the concept to a whole different level. His front gate rolls on four old lawn mower tires. He made one of those things that takes tires off the rims with an old metal bed frame. Now thats thinking outside the  box.

I'll be the first to admit that most of the time, I don't know what I'm doing, but I keep trying...and thats the point. I keep trying and sometimes it works. Like those fabulous meals that we can never make again because we don't remember what we put in them. It was just a little of this and a little of that.

I've always kind of had a thing for the old ways of doing things. Its kind of been in the back of my head that I might need that knowledge some day. Yes, I am thankful that I don't have to scrub clothes on a wash board, but I would like to know how to do it..just in case. I would like to make soap and candles, sew my own clothes and put up my own food. I see goats and chickens in my future too. Some of that I'm working on now and will share my trials and errors here with you.

But until then, I'll keep using what I have.