Instagram + PostalPix = EasyHappyLove

The other day I had a Grand Delusion.  I was going to start crafting, regularly.  You know, in all the spare time I have between being a SAHM to three kids ranging from three years old to ten, homeschooling my two oldest boys, blogging to build my writer’s brand, finishing this marathon that is writing a book, and oh, yeah, surviving my eighth month of pregnancy.  All the while keeping up with laundry, housework, cooking, and of course, maintaining a perfect manicure.

*snigger*

Not only was I going to start crafting regularly, I was going to blog about it.

*chuckles softly*  It was the Grandest of Delusions.

I love being creatively-busy.  Starting a project and watching it transform from bits and pieces that had no rhyme or reason at the start, seeing it through to completion…it just makes me happy.  That final sigh of satisfaction when a yard of fabric turns into a dress for my girl, or a previously boring white wall turns into something colorful and happy, or when I kill off a character that *may* have been loosely based off an ex-boyfriend…yep.  Nirvana.

But trying to make any of that happen right now would be like trying to dig a hole to China with my fingernails.  Dirty, messy, frustrating, and guaranteed never to be finished.  (Except for the imaginary killing off of ex-boyfriends.  Obviously.)

So, instead, I’m reining in my crafty ambitions to things that involve minimal effort on my part (for the time being…once Little Miss Took arrives and I’m back to my normal self, the sewing machine will see the light of day again!).  Read: Ordering crap online.

*Hubster, did you just sense a disturbance in the Force?  Don’t bother reaching for your wallet, darling.  Your credit card is still there, I promise.  I have the account numbers memorized.* 

Click here to go to Instagram's website.

Raise your hand if you love the Instagram app for your iPhone.  You know, the one that takes your snapshots and turns them into tiny squares of hipster-wannabe-awesomeness?

*this is my hand waving wildly in the air*

Instagram makes me happy…instantly.  Except for the fact that I’ve got all these cool pics on my phone, and no way of displaying them around my house, because most places don’t print photos in squares.

This no longer needs to be a problem!

Allow me to introduce you to Postal Pix.  Another app for your iPhone.  This one rocks my world because it (a) allows you to order photos straight from your phone, (b) they print in 4×4 squares, (c) their prices are super-reasonable and, (d) their shipping isn’t a rip-off.

Click here to visit PostalPix's website.

Last week I decided to give ’em a shot.  I ordered a dozen photos from my Instagram arsenal (for a total of something like $3.50, including shipping), and waited.  Less than a week later, the pics arrived in my mailbox.

And.  They.  Are.  DARLING.

I slapped those puppies up into a whatchymacallit thingy that’s been hanging empty on my dining room wall for an age and a half, and stood back, giggling at how sweet it looks.

Cute, right?  Now, what are you waiting for?  Go get yours!

HAPPY HAUSFRAU: Detergent Solutions

Happy Hausfrau that I am, I’m always looking for ways to cut corners with my budget.  One of my pet peeves is spending loads of cash on things that are literally gonna go down the drain – namely soap, detergents, and household cleaners.  One of my go-to solutions for this is using grapefruit and salt to replace my ordinary countertop and bathtub cleaners.  Today we’re gonna take a look at ways to revamp our use of laundry and dishwasher detergents.

Before we get started, though, let’s look at some simple math.  Numbers sometimes have a magical way of motivating us.

According to Soap.com, a bottle of Tide 2X Concentrated Liquid (64 loads) costs just shy of $17.  For our family of five, we average five loads of laundry every two days.  That comes out to about 913 loads of laundry a year.  That means I’m buying 15 (rounded up) bottles of Tide a year at a cost of $243.

Also according to Soap.com, a box of Cascade ActionPacs (60 count) costs about $16.  For our family of five, we average about 9 loads of dishes every week.  That comes out to 468 loads a year.  That means I’m buying about 8 boxes of detergent a year at a cost of $125.

Every year I’m spending around $370 on soap.  A product that is literally going to wash down the drain.  Blarg.  But here’s the thing – it’s so much easier to do better!

I’m talking about making your own.  The time investment is minimal.  The cash investment is minimal.  And the results are great!

I got the recipes for both these detergents from this website.  Here is the direct link to the dishwasher detergent recipe.  Here is the direct link to the laundry detergent recipe.  The writer of this blog does such a great job of laying out how to make the soap, I’m not going to bother with a repeat.  I’m just going to tell you about my experience, and tantalize you with numbers.  If you decide it’s something you want to try, follow those links!

Dishwasher detergent and Lemi-Shine peacefully co-habitating under the sink.

Dishwasher Detergent

This one takes me less than five mintes to make, and costs around $13.  The LemiShine (a rinsing agent that’s added separately) costs around $4.

We use 1 Tablespoon of detergent per load (plus 1 Tablespoon of LemiShine).  One batch of dishwasher detergent will last our family about six months (approximately; it should last longer); one container of LemiShine lasts about three.

That brings my total yearly cost down to $34.  A difference (from the Cascade) of $91.  In Happy Hausfrau terms, that’s three pedicures.  In Hubster terms, that’s four vinyl albums.  In 7 and 9 year old terms, that’s a boat-load of Legos, and in 3 year old SweetZ terms…well, that’s a lot of TinkerBell Lip Gloss.

Ingredients for laundry detergent.

Laundry Detergent

This one takes me about twenty minutes to make (mostly because I’m grating the Fels-Naptha by hand), and costs about $17.

We use 1 Tablespoon of detergent per load (it’s super concentrated!).  One batch will generally last us about six months (again, this approximate – it should last longer, barring any epic bouts of the flu that have us washing bedding fifteen times a week).

That brings my total yearly cost down to $34 – a difference (from Tide) of $209.  Seven pedicures.  Or ten albums.  Or an obscene amount of Legos.  Or enough lip gloss to fill a bathtub.

So, whaddya think?  Gonna give making your own detergents a try?  Or are you shaking your head at my tight-wadded-über-nerdiness?  Well, let me give you a little more to laugh at.

When I first decided to do this, I knew I was going to need to keep a measuring spoon in each container.  While I can eye-ball what a Tablespoon looks like pretty well, my boys (who are thrilled that their chores involve helping with laundry and the dishes.  Ahem.  *sarcasm*) would almost always be guaranteed to go overboard.  But the idea of buying two sets of measuring spoons just to use one Tablespoon of each made me itchy.  Itchy in a surely-I’ve-already-got-something-that-will-work sort of way.

And I did.

Each = One TablespoonLet me introduce you to the juice container lid.  Apple juice, pear juice, orange juice, prune juice, whatever.  It is almost a perfect Tablespoon.  Who knew?

The Happy Hausfrau did.

Go ahead.  Giggle at my expense.  I’m too busy picking out a color for my next manicure to hear you.  I think I-Clawed-My-Way-Into-His-Heart-And-He-Has-The-Scars-To-Prove-It-Red will contrast nicely with my alabaster skin.

Dear friendlies, whether you buy your detergents, make your own, or wander around the planet wearing stinky clothes and eating off paper plates, this Hausfrau wishes you the happiest of days!