Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Winterizing and Saving On the Bills

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It's winter in upstate PA. Oy. It's cold. And the wind is blowing, reminding me just how cold it is. Now, we live in a parsonage, which is just like renting, only we don't pay for anything. Well, we don't pay for our heating or our electric, however, eventually it would get back to us. If it took more out of the church's coffers, then it might mean less out of the pay. Not only that, but we want to be good stewards of what we have. I learned some of living since we've gotten married. Seems like God put us in the pot rather early and so I've learned how to 'make-do' with what I've got.

Here's what I'm doing:

We've got a heat leaky house. The windows are single-paned and don't latch well. There is no gasket (I can't think of what that's called, but it's the stuff in between the window and the window frame.) One particularly windy night I could see the window shades moving. Too drafty. So I did this:
This is a window quilt. I don't know if that's the true name of it, but that's what I'm calling it. It is a quilt, the size of my window, put right in the frame. It seals the perimeter of the window, while creating a second, thermal pane. I made it out of a layer of ewy cotton that I wouldn't use for anything else, an old blanket for the batting and then muslin for the front. I do still have window shades for looks, but this is what keeps it warm. This is our guest room window (one of them) and this was the draftiest room. It is now the warmest room in the house. I have one in each window in the guest room and one in Nadia's window. Her room faces the prevaling wind out here and so gets some pretty good gusts.
I also did this (and while this isn't a novel idea, it still works.)

It's a window snake. This is our bathroom window and it too faces the prevailing winds. I needed a quick fix for the window as the quilts do take a bit of time. This is just a flannel tube with fabric scraps inside. I made it a bit flexible so that I could shove it in the cracks and kind of mold it to the shape I needed it. I also have one in the study, which also is facing the prevailing wind. I hope to have a quilt in this room too. There's nothing like a stark artic wind on your bare thigh to wake you up in the morning!

And on another note of saving money, I have made a 'web' of sorts of my basement. The Lord has blessed us with a huge basement. I am putting it to good use. My poor clothes dry hardly gets used anymore. I have strung laundry line all over the basement. It takes about 24 hours for a load to get dry. I don't mind. The furnace is down there so that helps and our clothes are lasting longer. I am also washing all of our laundry with cold water (except diapers, that still gets the hot stuff). And all of it, including the whites, come out wonderfully. Now since we've gotten a little bit more money coming in, I can invest in a higher quality laundry detergent. I am serious, I see the difference and I use so much less per load than my arm and hammer. It is worth it. Plus it doesn't have the harsh smells like the other stuff does. That junk bothers me. I also was able to buy the fabric softener. That is the one thing I will say for hanging laundry, it does have an exfoliating quality to it. I also use two tablespoons of baking soda in each load. I believe that helps.

I also took advantage of the turkey sales and got a huge one. I baked it up (then opened the oven door after baking), picked it, packaged and froze it. I have like at least 10 meals from that one bird. I also got another turkey for later. I was buying a whole bunch of beef, but my last period was very painful and we just started eating more red meat, so I am attributing it to the hormones in the meat. I am trying to revert back to our 'slim' menus. Fish, poultry, beans and the like for a month to see if it makes a difference. That is, if I get a period. Anyway.

That's what we are doing to save a little more money. I won't know if it's making a difference, as we don't see those bills, but I am trusting it is.

BTW, I am eating pickles and mild pepper rings.


Kim said...

You can also try adding vinegar to the laundry where you would add the fabric softener - it takes the soap out of the clothes just as well and is a lot cheaper! I make a mix of about 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water and fill the softener compartment. We hang quite a few clothes to dry, and they haven't been nearly as crunchy since I started using the vinegar =)

Shannon said...

I've been wanting to try shaklee for a long time! Now you've made me want it even more :)

I'm so jealous of your basement. Basements around here are expensive.

Kathryn said...

Kim, actually I had been using the vinegar and while it does soften to a point, it was still very abrasive. I think because there is no moving air to help flex and bend them as they dry. I believe that helps.

Shannon, I've been using shaklee for a long time. My mother is a distributor. I've been taking the supplements since I can remember. The one time my mom switched to a store brand detergent I broke out in hives. After that I could only use the arm and hammer. But the shaklee gets the stuff so clean! I have no problems washing everything in cold water. Even the whites. Now diapers, that's a different story. If you want to know more about shaklee, please ask, as I probably know the answer! I also take the vita lea, and have throughout my pregnancy and bfing. I felt totally safe and she came out great.

shmaxlia said...

I've been hanging our clothes in our basement for 4 years now and don't even care to get a dryer. It just takes preplanning and organization which isn't always my strongest suit! I don't have as much room as you do though. I hang our clothes on the sides of our old crib - works very well and is quite compact. The crunchiness we all just live with - doesn't vinegar make the clothes smell?

I love your window quilts - it's such a great idea.

Kathryn said...

Actually no it doesn't leave a smell. Which is good if you have an allergy. I thought it would too, but not so far. Now I only use about maybe .5c worth in my softener cup. We have a front loader so it adds a great deal of water to it. And did I mention it helps to whiten and brighten the load too?