Winter is here! PROTECT YOURSELF!

In light of colder weather approaching, I felt it my responsibility to repost this. My children and I were probably lucky to survive, and of course, we never even thought it could happen to us…

I decided to post this because I saw a story on the news last night about a small local church that had a CO leak and 4 people that suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. I have had this experience personally, and it is terribly scary to realize how easily my entire family could have perished. Especially when you consider how simple it is to avoid this type of tragedy.

It happened about 4 years ago. I had been suffering from migraines already, and of course flu and allergies cause their share of illness. One night in particular, I awoke around 2a and felt nauseous. I went to the bathroom and threw up, then went back to bed. Two hours later I awoke and did it again. And again. I called in sick to work and slept for a good part of the day, thinking it was a 24 hour flu.

About a week later it happened again, all night long. That weekend was my daughter’s birthday party, and by the time that afternoon came round I had to call a friend to come help because I felt so weak and ill I couldn’t stay awake and upright to host her party. I knew something was wrong at that point.

I really felt just terribly weak, with a headache and nausea, but it wasn’t constant. It was sporadic. My concern was really raised when my daughters slept with me one night and it happened again. My older daughter woke me up during the night and told me she felt like she was going to vomit. This memory haunts me still. I told her to get up and go throw up then. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even think of getting up to help her. That is so far out of my character I knew something was really wrong.

I told a friend of mine about what was happening and he suggested that it might be carbon monoxide poisoning. I realized that we had just begun turning on the heater, so that could account for the sporadic nature of the issue. I immediately called someone out to check the heating units.

The unit over the bedroom had a leak. The technician warned me not to turn on that unit and that he had to call someone in for a second opinion (I had a homeowners appliance insurance policy of some sort, so they required it to cover the costs). The second tech came out two days later. By then we were pretty cold, sleeping each night in a huddle in front of the gas fireplace to keep warm. This tech checked for leaks without turning on the heat, after telling me his tester didn’t seem to be working properly. Then my home insurance people told me there was no problem because the second tech found no issue.

I was livid. Momma bear came out and I let them have it over the phone, insisting with reps and managers that I required another tech to come out and do a proper check with proper equipment. The first tech came back out with more sophisticated intruments, turned on the heat and tested for CO. And still found a leak.

A few days later the unit was replaced and we could safely heat the house again.

Since that event, I purchased 2 CO detection units. These models, with the LED readout cost about $30 each. You can find them more or less expensive at almost any local store (Target, Walmart, Lowe’s). AND THEY ARE WORTH IT! More worth it (in my opinion) than smoke detectors.

CO cannot be smelled. It cannot be seen. You come down with flu-like symptoms and headaches, and then if you are not as lucky as my family was, you die. I thank God for the fact that my daughters were both sleeping with me that night, as Amy usually slept on her top bunk and may not have made it through the night if she had been up there.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider getting one of these units. It’s a small one-time cost that truly could save your life! It doesn’t just happen to other people, it could happen to YOU!


Seriously, this is SO cute!!!!! So here’s the story:

I was working at the shop (Quilt Country) and as always, shopping as I was cutting. What I mean is, customers bring their fabric up to the counter for us to cut. When I unroll the bolt I see what nearly always seems like a new fabric, and 99% of the time I love it! So I buy some of that fabric when we have a lull in activity.

A lady brought up this cute Noah’s Ark fabric, and I knew I had to have some. It was on the sale rack, so I knew it wouldn’t be around long. I cut one yard, and then decided I needed another one. 🙂 Later in the day another woman brought up this greenish fabric with fishes on it. I bought some of that as well, thinking it had to go with the other yardage.

I do make quilts for sale, but when I saw this fabric, I knew it needed to be for baby quilts that would be donated. I decided to use the EZ Breezy Pattern concept, to keep the cute animals on the whole panel intact.

So I found fabrics in my stash that matched the other colors in the quilt and cut them into 2.5″ strips and sewed them together randomly. Based on the panel measurements (I cut each yard in half, then cut off a 5.5″ strip for cornerstones) I cut those sewn-together strips to 5″ lengths. I pinned them to the center panel on the sides and sewed them on. Because I didn’t trim my center panel to an even width and length, I had to trim my bottom strip on each side before sewing on the cornerstones. Then I attached that to the center and VOILA!!!!

The beauty is that I have all my borders (the strips) already made for the other three quilts. I may put an outer border on it; currently it measures 31″ x 39″. Good baby size.

So right now my remaining question is this: Once I finish these quilts, should I give them to the local church? Or should I send one to four different people and ask them to give the quilts away to someone they think is in need? Then I get to share this warm feeling I have inside. What do you think?

time to make laundry soap!

I found this AMAZING recipe for making your own laundry soap that is SOOOOOOO easy! I made it once before and just made my second batch this morning. Literally from start to finish for this GIANT bottle of detergent, it took me no more than 1/2 hour. And it’s so inexpensive! Scroll to the bottom to find the link!

I love lavender, so I add half my little bottle of lavender essential oil to make my laundry soap smell like lavender. You can use any scent you like, or none at all. It’s totally customizable.

This is the last bottle I bought, so I use this biggie to refill when I make a batch:

Check out how much of my solution is water. So when you buy brand name at the store, you are getting about 24 cups of water!!!

Here are my dry ingredients, and my receipt that proves how much I spent. Now remember, you use 1/2 cup of each dry plus 1/3 the bar for each batch. So this stuff will make boatloads!!! ha!

And there are hardly any dishes to clean:

Once you see how easy it is to make you will never go back to throwing your money at the corporate machine. Best of luck my friends = and happy washing!!!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK on how to make your own soap!!

Juicing the fruit

I had to share this, because it just makes so much sense! When I lived in Phoenix (and after I moved, before shipping was too expensive), my mom would bring me (literally) suitcases full of citrus fruit from the trees in their backyard. I love it, especially since I was eating so many grapefruits. But I didn’t eat all that many lemons…

So my mom told me a secret. OK not so much a secret as a hint, but it’s stuck with me and helped me save on my grocery bill. I was at Kroger the other day buying a few produce items and noticed the sale rack tucked in the corner. It was packed full of bags of overripe fruits. And each bag was marked at $1. HELLO!!!!!!!

So I bought 12 bags: 1 bag of limes, 2 bags of lemons and 9 bags of oranges and tangerines. When I got home everyone thought I was nuts and asked, “WHAT are you going to do with all THAT??”

So I showed them. I started with the oranges and tangerines, cutting each one in half. Then I pressed the juice with my hand-squeezer (I should have used the larger countertop model my mom got for me, but I worked my hands out instead) into a large measuring cup. Don’t throw out the squeezed fruits yet…

Then I poured the juice into ice cube trays of any size and shape I had on hand. I overfilled them a bit, so I used an old cookie sheet as a base in the freezer so the juice wouldn’t spill over. I let the cubes freeze overnight and then popped them out into large zipped top bags and stuck them back into the freezer.

Ever need a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest for a recipe, and find you have to run to the store to buy just one so you can finish making your meal, just to end up throwing the fruit out afterwards? No more! Before descarding the fruit halves that you’ve already squeezed, cut the peel off, and then use a sharp knife to remove the pith. Or you can use a zester, but you’ll have better luck with that PRIOR to squeezing them. The best news is my lemons were all organic, so I know my zest will be the best possible!

Out of all this I have all the citrus juice and zest I need for anything. I have freshly squeezed lemon juice for lemony green beans (or chicken if you eat it), fresh lime juice for salsa fresca or guacamole, orange zest for cashew cream (all my vegan friends will understand) and fresh orange/tangerine juice to complement a tall glass of soda water. Making lemonade is as easy as adding a cube to a half-glass of water with some sweetener and stirring.

There are infinite possibilities of what I can do with my new stash. If you find the opportunity to save yourself some time and money, join me in this venture! I look forward to hearing new ideas! Enjoy!