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Scattered Sundays

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No person is more full of false hope than a work-at-home parent who finally sends their kids off to school after a very long summer.

I somehow had this idea that this week would be free of drama and random time-consuming soccer board tasks. Narrator: how wrong she was!

The first day of school was super productive for me, but days two, three, and four were full of 400 interruptions and side tasks that I did not anticipate or appreciate. My to-do list went to hell by 10 am on Wednesday.

I’m hopeful that this week will seem more settled. But, in life, I’m constantly Charlie Brown and reality is Lucy yanking that football away at the last second.

Last Sunday night I had a soccer board meeting and carved a bit of time beforehand to stop by Goodwill because I am badly in need of some “new” jeans. I hit the jackpot in stuff that fit and was cute, but the laundry situation has been A LOT.

a woman in a yellow sweater and jeans in a dressing room.

I’m no stranger to getting scented detergents and fabric softeners out of thrifted clothes, but this batch has been the greatest laundry challenge to date. After 8 washes, 4 of the 6 items were almost clear of scent. But one pair of jeans and one shirt have been extremely stubborn.

I have pulled out all my tried and true methods for stripping the scents, but boy howdy, these jeans will be my undoing. The legs of the jeans finally seem to be scent-free, but the waistband is holding onto the fragrance like Jack and Rose on the floating door at the end of Titanic.

Before I tell you what I have done/used, I’ll note that this isn’t my first rodeo on removing scents. I’m confident in how to do this, I just know it takes a lot of time and a lot of washing. While it comes from a well-intentioned place, I’m not in need of additional suggestions at this time. 🙂

The first step for all the clothing was multiple washes with Defunkify and then vinegar in the fabric softener slot in our washer. When I’m washing newly thrifted clothing, I wash only those clothes and don’t wash them with other laundry items. The scents can transfer to normal laundry and then you’re in for a world of stinky hurt.

If possible, do not use hot water during this process, and DO NOT USE the dryer. Both can “lock in” deeply entrenched smells. While hot water is great for sanitizing newly dirty clothes, for old, chemical-coated fibers, it isn’t always a great solution. And as a tall lady, I like to point out it will shrink your jeans.

After each wash, I hang the laundry to dry on the line out in the sunshine. And then I repeat this process until the scents are gone. For items that still have a whiff of scent, I like to soak them in water with a mix of washing soda and BacOut.

For this one pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, nothing was working. I did some research and ended up ordering a jug of OdorKlenz. When it arrived, I soaked the jeans and the shirt in a mix of OdorKlenz and washing soda in our laundry room sink. I drained the sink and repeated this process twice. The water was so so gross.

laundry soaking in a sink.
Look at that water. That’s after this stuff was washed almost a dozen times. Ewwwwww.

Then, I washed the items with the OdorKlenz, Defunkify, washing soda, and vinegar (vinegar goes in the fabric softener slot in our washer). I repeated the wash cycle twice, and hung everything outside in the sunshine and overnight.

This last process has reduced the scents in the jeans by about 80%, but I’m sensitive to fake AF scents, and I’ll be leaving them outside and repeating the washing cycle until it is 100% gone.

And now, it’s time for my twice-a-year campaign to try to convince people to stop using scented detergents and fabric softeners. I can smell you from across the store and you make me sneeze. I can smell you doing laundry while I’m out walking. That shouldn’t be a thing.

If not for me and others sensitive to fragrances, think of your own skin. If I cannot remove the smell of (I’m guessing) Gain with fabric softener from clothing after multiple soaks, with special laundry items, and over 12 washing cycles, think of what that stuff is doing to your skin. You’re absorbing those chemicals!

Thank you for coming to my TedTalk. Now, please pardon me while I go and sneeze until my face sweats.

Also, consider this an early reminder that if you’d like to gift vanilla extract this year for the holidays, the time to start it is NOW. I bought some new vanilla beans, and I’m so thrilled that the bonkers prices from a few years ago have eased up.

three bottles of homemade vanilla extract with a dish of vanilla beans
The recipe post even has these printable labels!

I have a new batch going now. I like to leave it on my windowsill for a month to remember to shake it…and to give my neighbors something to be confused about.

In the Garden This Week

This week was a lot of harvesting of blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. It also involved a lot of putting planting boxes “to bed” in preparation for fall.

a bowl of blueberries next to a can of sparkling water.
Sparkling water can is there for size context vs. the bowl

The last of the cucumbers and green beans got torn down, and the foldable cattle panel trellises were taken down and collapsed for winter storage. These things are years old but are showing zero wear or tear.

For over 12 years, I have hated some bushes that we have near the raspberries. HATED them. They only bloom for about 1-2 weeks each year, but they take up so much space. I think they’re irises, but I know they’re stupid.

irises in a planting bed.

In addition to taking up space, they were a breeding ground for weeds, morning glory, and weird grasses. And for half of the year, they have dead leaves and canes from the plants just stuck in them. As in, I have to individually go in and pull them out but they don’t want to come out.

Troy took the kids to soccer on Tuesday, which gave me over two hours of uninterrupted garden time. With Keith Morrison in my ears, I knew it would be a productive evening.

After picking berries for 20 minutes (I legit set a timer because I could pick for two hours and still not be done), I tackled the stupid bushes that have taunted me for so long.

It was a huge project because the root system of all the bushes was connected, and they were super entrenched. The roots were attached to bulbs (rhizome?) that were hard to dig under and even harder to pull apart.

Like all challenging projects, it was worth it in the end. Our walkway seems much wider now (delivery drivers will be thrilled because for some reason they all use this secondary path instead of the perfectly cleared stairs) and this space seems less cluttered.

a garden bed with plants removed.
You can see the asparagus “patch” behind the planting boxes.

Technically, I could add another low-profile blueberry bush here, but I’m not sure what I’ll actually do. I left the peony bush that lives here (no clue who planted it or when) because it had been overtaken by these bushes and never had a chance to shine. We’ll see what next summer looks like for them in the blooming department.

READER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Long-time reader, Paulette, left this five-star review on our Garlic Butter Green Beans {Pin this recipe}:

I just finished making and eating these green beans with garlic butter two nights in a row. So easy, yet so delicious. I have friends coming for dinner on Sunday and this has just replaced the other vegetable I was going to serve! People, don’t let the simplicity of this recipe keep you from trying it. It is my new favorite way to eat green beans. Thanks, Sarah!

A white bowl with green beans and a copper fork on a white board

ON SUSTAINABLE COOKS THIS WEEK

(mentally insert your own noise of an annoying air horn here) cause we have a brand spanking new main dish recipe alert!

Buffalo Chicken CasseroleThis Buffalo Chicken Casserole is a simple dinner of delicious homemade comfort food. Your favorite flavors come together in one tasty main dish. {Pin this recipe}

a white dish with buffalo chicken casserole topped with sliced green onions.

A reader (and Google) favorite, How to Can Applesauce got a glow-up! More in-depth info so that you can be a successful canner. It includes updated elevation and processing guides that are super dorky but more reader-friendly. {Pin this tutorial}

A bowl of bowl of homemade applesauce with cinnamon sticks and apples on a grey board

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK

Food in jars. I have a thing. Obviously.

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3 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I keep hoping life will settle down, but like your start to the school year, life seems to have other plans.
    I totally checked out the new recipe! I’m on the hunt for some dairy feee cream cheese, but it’s totally happening! While on that recipe I clicked over to your one pot fajita chicken recipe, and while I didn’t follow it (I plan to use the left over brown rice), it totally inspired me to cook up some fajita chicken. For funsies I mixed the fajita seasonings into a can of coconut milk and poured that over the chicken veggie mix and it came out so freaking amazing! Can’t wait for leftovers tonight! 

  2. Defunkify!  LOL  I am still chuckling over the name of that product.  It sounds awesome, though!  I know what you mean about the weird scents on thrifted clothes.  Hope you’re successful at freshening them all up.

  3. 100% with you on the scented detergent and softener. One of my pet peeves is softener used on towels, which coats the fibers and makes them slick and non absorbent. Softener was first made to alleviate static in synthetics, now it seems it is used for everything.