Old is New

I was reading a story on Facebook recently. My cousin was talking about a magic potion she used to get her daughter’s soccer pants clean. It was Grandma’s Spot Remover. It’s been around a while. I bought mine at a fabric store. It got a red Starburst melted candy out of a bite denim jacket for me once. The stuff is amazing. The post started a conversation around other laundry challenges.

I recall recently having a conversation with a coworker on this same topic. I mentioned the soap I used to use to clean my son’s baseball pants. I will never understand why little league programs issue white pants. I think it’s to see if parents are made of the right stuff to raise an athlete. Anyway I told my coworker about Fels Naptha bar soap. “Never heard of it” she said. Most people haven’t. I was told about it in the early baseball years from another mom. This was her third child in baseball. She already had a baseball and softball player and she swore by this stuff.

For the next ten years I carried around a bar of that soap with me in a plastic container with a lid. It went to every game and tournament with me. I can remember a few times being in a hotel laundry room with it – rubbing it down the pant legs of ten pair of pants before throwing them in the washing machine. Our kids looked so good. White pants on Sunday.

Now, to the old part. According to FrugalSOS “els-Naptha soap has stood the test of time. It has been around for over 100 years.  It was in the Fels family until 1964 when it was sold to Purex. It used to come in not only bar  form, but in liquid, granule and chips form (Gentle Fels, Instant Fels, Speedy Fels) as well. It’s manufactured by Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. It now has the Purex logo on the packaging. It’s often over-looked in the laundry aisle. But once you see the vintage looking label, you’ll easily recognize it.”

The best part is you can buy a bar of this for under $1.00. I only went through 2 bars in the 10 years of little league, traveling and high school baseball. It was worth it! Now I’m sure I could have found something eventually that works equally as good but a friend saved me the trouble. Besides, who can argue with 100 years?!

Just Stay Home

As the kids get older the idea of shopping for gifts seems to go away. Two in college. Two finishing high school. Money, gift cards, gas cards. That’s where it’s at.

This past weekend was spent cleaning and doing random chores at home. We ran errands (on a very loose schedule), ate out and chilled. This low key thing is easy to adopt. Gone are the days of shopping at 4am on Black Friday and planning out every weekend trip to the mall. Things are slowly making their way into the stockings.

I have the food planned out for Christmas Eve. We will celebrate here at home. Looking forward to a calmer and quieter Christmas this year.

Lights On

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

So tonight was the night to enter the crawl space and drag out all the holiday stuff. We spent the evening putting up the tree. Yes, I have an artificial tree. I’ve never had a real one due to allergies in my family and never liked the idea of dead needles in the floor. I held off with the decorations for now. They will wait for another night. I did, however, get the string of lights on. Like most people with any street smarts I ran them out in the floor first and checked them. Only two needed to be replaced. I thought that was pretty good. It spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where I stashed the extra bulbs. I still haven’t found them but was able to come up with a small replacement pack of three bulbs.

Most evenings the house is lit up with a string of LED bulbs above the fireplace mantel, a few LED tea lights in a lantern, and now we’ve added the tree. Who needs lamps and ceiling lights when you have all that?!

That’s enough for tonight. I’ll save the rest of the fun for another night.

Winter Lazyland

So the cold is rolling in again. The last week has been balmy…40 to at time over 50 degrees. Tomorrow the forecasted high is 16 I think. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like winter. However, I don’t particularly like cold. I don’t snowmobile. I don’t ski. I have and I could but I choose not to. I don’t really ice fish. Again, I have and I could but that’s a weekend thing for me. It’s a weeknight.

I have a fire going in the fireplace. It will probably be a regular thing this week and likely for the rest of the winter. It’s cozy. Who wants to go outside in this weather? Well, that only lasts so long. I get bored. I can get stir crazy. I need activity. So tonight I started running up and down the stairs. I didn’t do it long. Just long enough to get the heart rate up and feel the burn in the thighs. I might have to make it part of my winter routine. Closest thing to a gym to me for 25 miles.

Change Is Hard

We had a plan to move for about three years. We have now lived here for five months. Yet I have not started working on establishing new health care providers. We changed banks before the move but that was easy. They had branches in both towns. Doctors and dentists are a little tougher. Plus we really only need them 1-2 times per year. I haven’t been motivated to do anything about it. So we kept our exiting providers. It also gives us an excuse to go back home once in a while. Today was one of those days for me.

The cool part is we are just beyond small business Saturday. I had a list of all my favorite places to stop at today. I was back home a few weeks ago and did the same thing. We are stocked up. I stopped at Schmidt’s Meat Market twice today. Once on the way down (I brought a cooler) and once on the way back (made it before close). I stopped at Friesen’s Bakery and picked up some bacon cheddar buns and some yummy Spokato soup. I also had lunch with a friend today at Olives Restaurant – one of the best independent, family-owned in the area.

The weather was fantastic for the drive down. I am hoping for some mild weather spurts this winter so I can make another visit.

A Word of Thanks

Each year that passes feels busier than the one before even when the majority of activities are completely different. This year is no exception. I’m not traveling 2-3 days a week as a baseball mom or volunteering at every school activity but still, the time went too fast. This year gives me much to be thankful for – our new home, a new dining table (as of Tuesday) from which we served our families today, a stable career full of growth opportunities, a loving spouse, another year of good health and an expanded extended family.

The past few weeks as the temperature has started to dip we are enjoying the heat from our fireplace and easing up on the electric bill.

As the first official year we have hosted both sides of our family we had lots to be excited about and as a result I made about twice as much food as necessary. Yeah for leftovers!

I am looking forward to many more meals at the dining room table and more time visiting with friends and family by the fireplace.

It’s Warm Inside

I love Autumn. It’s my favorite time of year. I struggle with winter. Granted, I live in Minnesota so that’s part of life but that doesn’t mean I like it much. It’s bearable. On the up- side we have a beautiful fireplace that cost us some blood, sweat and tears and it is now cold enough to enjoy it. We had a few days here that really belonged in January – they somehow ended up in November.

It’s hard not to love that smell – a roaring fire made of dried hardwood. That smell carries many memories for me. Lots of reflection. I grew up in a home with a wood burning fireplace. Not only does it warm the room it also warms the heart.

This will be an enjoyable feature for many years to come. Bring it on Mother Nature. We’re ready.