Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

1. Back in January, we were out of laundry detergent.  I picked up a MEGAhuge container of generic brand detergent at Family Dollar for $6 [as an aside, what's the deal with all these places that call themselves "dollar stores", but sell most items for more than that?  One of the only true dollar stores left is Dollar Tree.]  Seven months later, and I still have about a third of the container left.

Anyways, I've been noticing recently that so much of our clothing is just....dingy.  Stains aren't coming out the way I expect.  And things never smell truly "clean" upon coming out of the wash.  I didn't really think much about it.  I guess I assumed that this is the way it goes when you haven't been able to afford any new clothes for several years (a situation I had never had the experience of before).  But I finally made the connection:  It was that cheap-o detergent!

So I checked the circulars on Sunday, and found a sale on Tide.  And oh my.  What a difference already!  Things smell so much better (and it's not just the scent of the Tide.  Like, they actually smell "clean" for the first time in months), and have been coming out looking a lot brighter.  Man.  Tide's not cheap, though.  So if anyone has recommendations for another good laundry detergent (and I might be willing to make it myself, too), please comment!

2.  The other day, I stupidly left out my shoebox full of nail polishes (I had been making my toes pretty and beach-ready!).  Sly found it.  Of course.  Inside was a long-forgotton little bottle of "pixie sparkles."  This picture shows only the concentrated area of the mess.  The rest of it is now ingrained into the carpet all up and down the stairs, and I've been finding little particles of it on everything in the house.

3. Our health insurance company has a special maternity program you can enroll in.  If you meet the criteria for going to your pre-natal appointments, etc., you get a free gift.  We had our choice of either an infant car seat or a Pack n' Play.  Since we already have both those things, I figured I'd just pick one and we could sell it on Craigslist for a bit of cash.  I thought the Pack n' Play (since it was a known brandname) would have the best resale value.  Well, I'm kinda regretting it now.  I've had the post up for over a week now, and have slowly dropped the price...but no true bites yet.  I guess Pack n' Plays must just be a dime a dozen.  There are so many of them on there for sale.  I thought the fact that ours is brand-new in the box might make it more attractive, but apparently not.  A couple people have offered to pay $35 or $40 for it.  But at that price, I think we might be best off just hanging onto it, and giving some friend a really nice baby shower gift someday...

4.  Sorry to talk about sports, because I mostly think they're a big yawn.  But um, have you seen how the Pirates are doing lately?!  It's pretty awesome.  They went from being basically the worst team in the league for years to being number one.  Unfortunately, Tom and I haven't been able to make it to a game since this winning streak started.  We've had a lot going on, but also, tickets keep selling out for all the games (which is really rare for the Pirates).  It makes me pretty mad, sometimes...thinking about all those fair-weather fans  stopping us from seeing a team that we have legitimately supported through thick and thin!  I'm someone who really doesn't care about sports at all, but the Pirates have always had my support.  Baseball is the one sport for which I actually understand *most* of the rules (having played softball for a number of years in my youth).  And baseball games are just so chill and low-key.  You can't beat the experience of sitting back in the beautiful park, munching peanuts and licking ice cream, and just having nice casual conversation with friends!

5.  Sly's not quite two now, and I know I probably have no business letting him watch tv...but about once or twice a week, I put on Sesame Street for him.  As far as I can tell, it's the only children's show these days that isn't completely inane and painful to watch.  And it's nice, because it affords me some time to get in some mid-morning cleaning or laundry without distraction.  Like all kids these days, Sly has become obsessed with Elmo.  I don't know what it is.  I can't even remember Elmo being on the show in my early Sesame Street-watching days (though according to Wikipedia, he's been around since the early 70's - who knew??).

Anyways, the other day, I decided to give Sly a treat (and myself a needed respite from a whiny and clingy toddler...don't judge!), and put on the classic movie Follow That Bird.  This was made in the pre-Elmo days.  The ENTIRE movie, all Sly did was ask for Elmo.  I felt a little bad.  I tried to explain that Elmo "wasn't born yet", but I don't think he quite grasped the concept...

6.  Speaking of the unborn...I'm 36 weeks pregnant now.  Amazingly, still no swelling in my feet!!  I can't believe it.  It's been so hot.  With my first pregnancy, they were ridiculously huge well before this time. tells me baby is the size of a honeydew melon.  I like having something to compare the size to.  But I definitely have a beef with their size comparison chart.  For example, just last week, it said baby was the size of a coconut.  Coconuts aren't really that large.  And I KNOW there is something bigger than a coconut inside of me!  Week 31 is "pineapple."  Week 24 is "cantaloupe."  Those fruits are both definitely bigger than coconuts!

7. We're heading off this weekend for what is always my favorite week of the whole year - "Family Week" up at our cottage on Lake Erie.  My large extended family will all be up there.  We will actually have to squeeze ourselves into four separate cottages, because there's no way in heck for us to all fit in the main one (pictured below).  It's just a lovely time - so peaceful and relaxing...catching up with family, swimming in the Lake, bonfires at night, sharing our traditions with the next generation...

I'm just praying that the baby does NOT decide to come until we get back to Pittsburgh!!!  The midwives gave me a copy of my pre-natal records, and told me to map out all the hospitals along the way....yikes!

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary


  1. On the homemade detergent front, Frugally Green had one up on their blog, but it's been hijacked. Instead, this link is pretty much the same thing

    A friend just did it and I'm going to do the same with some citrus essential oils added to it.

    Also, a cup of vinegar per load helps de-stinkify stuff and whitens nicely, too.

  2. I broke down and bought Tide when we moved here. It has made a HUGE difference, I can't believe how nice we both smell now! It might have to be the one household item I splurge on...I promised myself I'd buy store brand or Value Time for everything else. (Yes, Phoenix believes in Value Time!)

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  4. I removed my comment but I wanted to replace it with this. Please donate the Pack'n'Play to a homeless or women's shelter instead of selling it. It may save a life. and :) *if you would have heard this woman talk about her passion for saving babies lives, in the light of losing her own child to sids.. you might understand my previous hasty reply

  5. Ah, discount laundry detergent. Definitely been there! Sometimes you just get what you pay for. I really love the Tide with Febreeze! Usually Target has good coupons that you can clip and pair with sales. :)

    I have never understood those fruit comparisons either!

  6. We are in love with All Free and Clear Detergent. Matthew and I both have extremely sensitive skin, so it works well for us. The huge mega size that I get usually runs about 13.99 and it lasts us six months or so. A doctor told me once that the bottle tells you to use twice as much as you really need and so we use half the recommended amount and our clothes don't look dingy and smell clean at the end of the wash. :)

    Also, St. Clair has a crib donation program. I'm sure they'd take your pack 'n play. Or just keep reposting it on Craigslist. I did that with our double stroller and on the second repost, someone scooped it up for our asking price. :)

    Have fun on vacation! :)

  7. And I meant to add that Elmo is in Follow that Bird. Matthew got the movie, and we had to figure it out because on the case, he's in the picture, and Matthew was determined to find him in the movie. He is in the beginning when they first show Sesame Street. He is hanging out a window for about five seconds. Anyways, it satisfied Matthew long enough that he'll now watch the whole movie without asking for him. lol