Archive for May, 2009

made especially for Abbey….

May 31, 2009


a constant reminder...

a constant reminder...

Here you go Abbey.  Your winning item from the most recent challenge.  I bet you are REALLY glad you cleaned out your pens and pencils now huh???   🙂    Another reason I wanted to post a pic of it, was to add just a subtle hint of personalization for you.  “A”    can be for Abbey, or A+ teacher!!!    🙂    which I am sure you are!!!!  

Hope you enjoy it,  and be a constant reminder for all the reasons you come back again and again to my Simply Altered website…… “Live Simply”

It is headed your way Monday morning.   

(The Hy-Vee sampling is now DONE, and I will consider it a very successful weekend…….but I am TIRED!!!    I will post pics and some other items of interest sometime Sunday / Monday)    


drumroll please…

May 29, 2009

drumrolland the winner is…..

Abbey Says:
May 28, 2009 at 1:33 am | Reply   edit

I am a teacher and I absolutely LOVE pens and pencils of any kind, so your challenge was huge for me. However, I did understand the need to declutter my desk drawer at work. I went through and got rid of all non- working pens, old and icky markers, used up pencils, etc. I also found all kinds of office supply goodies and was able to sort them into their proper locations/throw away what was not needed. Whew! Glad to have that done before the end of the school year. Thanks!


Yes, Abbey you are the winner of the current challenge.   Seems fitting in the end for a TEACHER to get some sort of winnings after cleaning out her pen  / pencil drawer before summer arrives!!!   Nothing like being on top of things!!!!   I will be posting your winnings in another day or so, but be forewarned, you will LOVE it!!!!!!!    I am running majorly behind as I have the sampling stint tomorrow MORNING at Hy-Vee, and then of course Saturday morning as well.   Oh boy, good thing Sunday is a day of “rest”  !!!!!!!  I have a feeling I am gonna need it.    🙂    working OUTSIDE my home is likely to make me appreciate my work from home ventures even MORE!!!!     

Abbey…I will also need you to e mail me the snail mail address.    E mail me at    

If any of you are in the area, stop by Hy-Vee to see me in the next couple days……oh , and also to get stocked up on all the Simply Wonderful laundry supplies!!!!  it WILL all be there, on hand!!!!

at the end of the day…

May 28, 2009


How does your day end?

How does your day end?

I had one of those days today.  Just felt like I am completely sleep deprived (my own fault, as I am not smart enough to know when it is BEDTIME!!!)  but regardless, last years memories came back to me.  Cramming for Art on the Square, thinking I am never going to get everything done, school year coming to an end, and being pulled in every direction {sigh}…..and then add the Simply Altered blog / soap / Hy-Vee…..oh yes, no wonder this year seems more stressful than last!!  

Then, I recieved this e mail from a blog reader from out of state.  I have never met her, obviously, but her light hearted reassuring words were exactly what I needed to hear.  I love her sense of humor already!!!   (and imagine, she debated about even sending this to me!!!!!)   What?????

“Today was a “Simply Wonderful” day, or atleast my house smells “Simply Wonderful”!!!   I made my first batch of this detergent early this morning and I’ve been doing laundry ever since, LOL!!!  I love this stuff and the smell is marvelous.  My clothes are softer than before…did I mention that I love the smell?  Thank you so much Kelli for letting us all know about this!!  I was just sure I would never be able to find the ingredients, but as said in an earlier reply…good ole Harris Teeter (her store of choice) came through.   OOPS!!  I gotta run, my washer has stopped and I think I am going to yank my bedspread off the bed and wash it…then…hummmm….maybe my clean towels really aren’t so clean after all.  Thanks again!!   =)  ”    Vanessa

This made my day!!!  it made me smile….it made me laugh…it made me realize someone I have never met and possibly never will, can add just the bit of humor I need on a day I was feeling overwhelmed!!!!!!      I have recieved no monetary benefits from all of this up to this point.  I debated why I am putting all this time in to something I am not getting paid for ?   I talked to my husband about that topic, but we aggreed that when the day is done, I am glad I am helping others.  I have always said I get just as much satisfaction out of saving OTHER people money as I do saving money myself!!!    and the clutter topic?   That also ranks right up there in the things I like to do for others.  Encourage them, or do it FOR them!!!   I love every aspect of it, and freely telling others what I think they no longer need.   🙂  lol

I love to hear how I am helping others through my blog.  I love to see how proud my kids are of me.  My daughter sent me a text the other day that simply said “I am so proud of you mom, how you have made your hobby so successful”   awww….how nice is that, coming from a teenager???     and I am proud of MY kids when they spread the word of what I am doing to their friends / teachers / acquaintences.    I have so many reasons to be proud of them as well!!!!  when times are tough raising kids, I remind myself how very wonderful they  are, and the bright future that awaits both of them ,I tell them, no matter WHAT you do in life, as long as you are HAPPY doing it, then you ARE successful !!   and to see this working both ways in our home  is certainly satisfying.   Maybe kids don’t think we as adults are so “dorky” afterall???   🙂  lol     

Remember at the end of the day……does it REALLY matter if we see monetary gain?  that we acquire more more more?  that we have all the material items we WANT?  that we are  able to go everywhere we WANT to go?  that we  have done some knock your socks off  gesture of kindness?  

no.  It does not.

 It is the very most SIMPLE things.  A good portion of these examples,  happen within the walls of our own home with those you love the most!!!!  Something we maybe did not even realize we were doing.  

At the end of the day,  as long as you can lay your head on the pillow at night, and feel “good” about yourself and what you are doing……..

THAT indeed, is all that really matters.  

I feel good.

add your comments!!!

May 27, 2009


clean them out!!!!

clean them out!!!!

Calling all blog readers.  Amongst the Fels Naptha updates, my KBOE stint and all the talk of laundry, there is STILL  a challenge that might have been overlooked??   add your comments SOON as the random drawing will take place tomorrow!!  As of right now, your odds of winning are VERY good!!!   🙂


May 26, 2009


but more IS on the way!!!!

but more IS on the way!!!!

I Did my KBOE radio segment this morning,  (and YES, I did wake up in time!!)   

While I was there, talking to Dan, I found out the BAD news  {sigh}   no more Fels Naptha!!!!   He ordered 15 cases, (24 per case) and they were gone the VERY FIRST day!!!  you do the math….that is a whole lot of soap making going on huh???    be thankful if you were a lucky one to get it while it was there…..and for everyone else???   

THERE WILL BE MORE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!    Dan will get it, and assured me, having it for the days of sampling will be no problem.  Whew!!!    

and to think this is an item, they RARELY sold any of????   nothing short of amazing!!!!!  

I will update when it is back in stock…….and don’t forget, the previous post has a challenge you will surely want to get in on!!!!!!!!!!!!  

time for a challenge…. {finally}

May 26, 2009


ok. time to get busy!!!

ok. time to get busy!!!

The relaxing long weekend is over, and it is time to get back to work (literally) and time for a long overdue challenge!!

Do you have a drawer that holds pens / pencils / and a lot of other long items that get missplaced in that same location?    of course you do!!!

The reason for this specific challenge?   I have a sister  (one of 4)  and you know who you are, that is a relatively organized person with a clutter free home.   As I was visiting her one day, I opened her drawer to grab a pen……..WOW!!!   My words were something like “What on EARTH are you thinking?”   and with that, I grabbed about 40 of them and they went right in the trash. !!!!!!    how many pens / pencils are REALLY necessary in one home. , and in one location?   maybe 5 ?  10 tops.    (I think I have about 4)  

So, go to your drawers, (and you may have many different locations)  or desktop pencil holders, WHEREVER you keep them……..and FLING any above and beyond the absolute NECESSARY ones.   You may find that 1/2 of them do not even work anymore, not to mention all the odd ball items that have gravitated to this area!!!!  

Leave a comment when you are done, or let us all know how many you got RID of, or what you found that did NOT belong in this location!!!!!    No contest here, no pressure to find the oddest item, just a friendly challenge to tackle something that each time you look at it, you are thinking “someday I need to clean this out” . 

NOW is the time.   🙂     get busy.  

***Random drawing will take place on Thursday for a GREAT freebie (something that goes very nicely with your pen collection {or lack of} ), and I have many many more challenges planned, as well as Simply Wonderful updates, and MANY more frugal tips.  You are gonna love the next one, no matter WHAT your age or WHO lives in your home with you.    {hint hint}   

I will also be doing the radio segment in the morning.  6:30 a.m..  Any bets that I will oversleep????   yikes. 

more on Simply Wonderful..

May 25, 2009


a family affair!!!!

a family affair!!!!

There IS strength in numbers!!!   all three of us were making soap today!!!  (My son was skateboarding!!!)     I have made about 15 batches today ONLY!!   and am still not done..  I am trying to make some for Art on the Square, but moreso, making some ahead of time for the Hy-Vee sampling day  (this Friday and Saturday)…..and I made 6 batches with my neice Ambjour last night!!!

I did come to one conclusion though…..

One time, it is good to get something from Hy-Vee that is  old and dried out!!!    When I initially got my Fels Naptha back in December (?)  the bars must have been on the shelf for a LONG time!!!  they ground down to powder…..actually more like DUST !!!!!!!  it was PERFECT!!!!

This time however, the bars are very new and FRESH and soft.  (a very good thing for a grocery store) but makes a little more work on our part……but THAT IS OK!!!   

I was having a hard time getting mine ground down far enough, so what I have done  (actually Glenn gets credit on this one!)   We ground them down to nearly beads of a fairly good size.   Then went ahead and mixed all the powders in to it , like normal.  …….stir it all and let it sit awhile  (the longer the better)   and then, process it all together in the food processor one more time and let it run AWHILE.   This extra step was well worth it to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   or atleast until I can buy  enough up to “dry out” ahead of time, which I usually do, but with the Fels Naptha shortage we experienced, this was impossible.   In the end , with this additional step, it is a PERFECT consistency, no matter how “soft” the bars are initially.  Yeah!!!

Now…….if you do NOT want to mess with this, that is also FINE.   But be prepared , the beads will separate a little more from the powder, therefore, you will need to give it a quick stir before dispensing just to make sure you are getting equal parts of all the ingredients.  

I will sleep much better tonight, having informed everyone of this.  It was making me NUTS how I was going to get past this little bump in the road.  

Rest assured, I am still beyond 100% confident in this, and no matter what consistency, it is still just “Simply Wonderful”    !!!!!!!!!!!    🙂

Simple homemade firestarters…

May 24, 2009


the end to a perfect weekend...

the perfect weekend activity

I was reminded today how much we enjoy our firepit.  (Thanks Angie!!)     There are many weekend nights we wrap things up with an hour or so by our simple little firepit.   There is something about sitting by a fire, no matter where it is at, that encourages relaxation, as well as good conversation.   Makes simple weekends spent at home feel like a real treasure. 

My husband is very good at starting a fire (aren’t all men?”)  but on occasion he uses commercial firestarters to speed things up and get the fire rolling faster.  These can get expensive as well as something we do not necessarily HAVE to purchase if I found an alternate HOMEMADE idea instead.  More money savings and of course, all things you have in your home and “green” as well.  

I found a homemade tip I am now using and would like to pass on to you.   

Homemade fire starters:

1 empty cardboard tube of paper towels or toilet paper

Dryer lint


“Simple” huh???     Secure one end of the tube with a small amount of tape.  Fill with dryer lint that normally goes in our garbage.  Pack it in fairly tight, and secure the top of the tube.  Light the middle of the tube with a match and your fire will be ready to go.  

Now, you can “collect” your lint and make many of these to have on hand, ahead of time, and ready to do. They would store nice and neat in a box of sorts.   Heck, I can even take it one step further, and how about making them, roughly decorating the outside of the tube, stack about 6 of them, secured with a bow and given as  the ultimate FRUGAL gift!!!   No matter what the cost of gift giving, I would personally be VERY tickled  and impressed for someone to do this for me!!  am I alone here?   This would cost NOTHING, yet a “green” gift with alot of thought and effort on your part.  This is ideal in my opinion!!!!    Maybe (Angie)  keep this a secret and have Zach do this for Brian for Fathers Day!!!   Let Zach decorate them all on his own!!!   PERFECT!!!  and much better gift than a necktie!!     LOL  !!!!

(one suggestion though)  in my opinion ONLY, these are best suited for outdoor fires!!!   I am not intending to use this inside in our fireplace in the house.  We never burn paper,  of any kind for it as I have heard in the past it can clog the flue.   Gotta add that disclaimer as I am not too interested in causing anyone to PAY for a chimney sweep or burning their house down!!!  yikes  

I am still working and brainstorming on the next “challenge”  but in the meantime, this felt like a good update and more in the relaxing apsect than an update to make you WORK.  After all, this IS a long weekend!!!!

Enjoy it!!!!!!!

worth the wait!!!!!

May 23, 2009


it HAS indeed arrived!!!

it HAS indeed arrived!!!

I am going to shout it from the hilltops!!!   Fels Naptha has arrived!!  I just got an e mail from Dan the manager, and you can find it at Hy-Vee in aisle 2 and aisle 9  !!!!!!!!   waste no time, I would predict it will not last long.  

I know I promised a challenge for yesterday, but I had a few delays…………namely Fels Naptha and Art on the Square projects!!!    I will still try to get one on here maybe tonight.  

Bear with me.  

and a great big THANK YOU TO DAN!!!!!!      Head to Hy-Vee soon, and show him how badly we really DID want to see this back on their shelves!!!   🙂

The gallery is now ready for viewing…..

May 22, 2009

Simply Altered logo #3After much prompting, I now have a “gallery” of sorts for you to just get a SAMPLING of what I will be bringing to Art on the Square!!!  there is much more to come as I still have a couple week , and alot of creativity to utilize!!!    

Look towards the right hand side of the website, and under “Pages” you will find each specific gallery you might be interested in.    

Enjoy, tell your friends about subscribing to my website and MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!   I can’t wait to meet each of you!!!!!!