Sunday, February 27, 2011

Green with Envy Part 2

Baking Soda - It's not just for Baking
A few weeks ago I introduced you to my journey toward more natural living. I have really high ambitions, but am completely satisfied with taking baby steps toward a more earth, family, health friendly lifestyle. So today I thought I would pick a product and tell you the many things I use it for. So I started with my favorite. Baking Soda. This blog will be a multi part blog because I use baking soda for many things, but today I am sharing my house hold uses for it, I will post the health uses another day - when the "Green blogging" mood hits me. Where was I? Oh yes, home uses for baking soda. I will list - it's easier to follow.

  1. Place a teaspoon in a vase to make cut flowers last longer.

  2. Spread some on the windshield of your car to repel rain.

  3. After feeding your baby, wipe his shirt with a moist cloth sprinkled with baking soda to remove the odor.

  4. Soak dishrags in baking soda and water to remove the smell.

  5. Sprinkle along window seals and in basements to repel cockroaches and ants.

  6. Scatter it along your flower beds and gardens to keep rabbits from eating your flowers and vegetables.

  7. Sprinkle anywhere you want to absorb odor - shoes, slippers, garbage cans, diaper pails, litter boxes... you get the picture.

  8. Wash your fruits and vegetables with it.

  9. Soak 1 cup in your toilet for an hour before flushing, it will clean and deodorize your toilet bowl.

  10. Use it to scrub sinks, porcelain and plastic tubs.

  11. Sprinkle on couches, carpets, or any upholstry and let it sit an hour or overnight before vacuuming for a home made dry cleaning option.

  12. Combine with water to make a paste to polish stainless steel... I learned this from my many many many restaurant days.

  13. Scatter it on your garage floor, scrub, then rinse to cut the grease and oil spills in your garage.

  14. 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda and 1/4 gallon of hot water make a great all purpose cleaner for the home. A few drops of essential oil - I like lemon or orange to give that clean smell in your home.

  15. Flush 4 tbsp with hot water down your drains weekly to clean your drains.

  16. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water to scrub your enameled cast iron pots and stainless steel pots and pans clean.

  17. Make a paste to and rub into clothes to remove grease spots.

  18. Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution to clean then rinse.

  19. Combine 3/4 cup with 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water to clean your oven.

Image Credit

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Hope

Today is Hope's birthday! Did you know that? I didn't either. Hope is my Cinderella's stuffed bear that my prince made before she was even born. The actual date she was made? I don't really know. You get a certificate at the bear store, but I don't know what we did with it, all I know was Cinderella wasn't even born, and my prince had dreams of "building a bear" that would be her favorite, then one she love more than any other toy, the one that made boo boos better, scared away the bed time monsters, and made all the aches and pains go away. (You are thinking - what are the chances that the toy the parents pick would be the baby's favorite - and you were right... for a while... then we discovered Hope.) My prince named her Hope because of all the Hopes and Dreams we had for her. (I think calling her dream would have just been weird). Anyway, he built her himself. I was pregnant, we were at the mall and he said - "I want to make Cinderella a bear." Well - he called her by her real name, but for blogging world purposes - she's Cinderella, my baby is Belle, and the hub is Prince Charming. - Where was I? Oh yes, he wanted to make Cinderella a bear, so we went in to the make your bear shop and he chose the softest bear he could find, one without eyes or buttons that might pop off - choking hazard, you know - Then we proceeded to the stuffing part - he got to do the honors, and stuffed the bear, then the man working there gave the bear a heart, and made my prince jump up and down 5 times to get it beating. I laughed til I cried. I think the man working there got a little kick out of the ritual too... ANYWAY, my prince persevered, and we got the bear made, with a heart and all sewn up. We dressed her in a simple pink t-shirt since she was for our baby girl and my prince named her "Hope." So that is how Hope came to be. Now that you know the history of Hope, the happy ending - or maybe beginning is that she is the favorite toy of Cinderella. Wherever she goes, Hope goes, and Hope is the bedtime buddy for every trip to Bebe's house, or bedtime at home. My prince is thrilled. ANYWAY. It's Hope's birthday, and according to Cinderella she is 3. Well her birthday is actually tomorrow, but Cinderella said she can stay up til midnight to celebrate so we can celebrate today. How do you celebrate a stuffed Bear's birthday, you ask? The same way you celebrate any one Else's. We ate at a favorite Mexican restaurant and then crossed the street to a bakery/ice cream shop for cupcakes. We all had dessert in honor of Hope's birthday and even sang happy birthday to her. All in all, I think Hope had a great birthday. We all enjoyed it :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Tonight was a rushed night. The day was long and the evening was hectic. I had to go to a fundraiser dinner for Just Keep Smiling a wonderful foundation for people who are in the "valley." Please take a minute and check it out. I am sure I will post about it one day. But that isn't the reason for this little blog. I left at 5:30 with a quick kiss for the hub and the kids and ran out the door. When I got in tonight, I found my husband putting the kids to bed. My big girl wanted me to pat her since "daddy got to do it last night." Now you must understand my girl. She has a mind of her own, and since she came into being, bedtime has been a MARATHON. We pat, get drinks of water, pray, read, potty, another drink of water, more patting. Then we discovered the sleep fairy. (More on her later). Anyway, I was gearing up for a marathon patting and giggling session when she busted out with an old school thing we used to do. When she was little, I used to gently run my fingers down her face from her forehead to her chin, tracing over her eyelashes, her nose, her lips, her chin. So she looks up at me and says "do this mommy" and mimics the tracing of her features. So I began the ever so gentle tracing of her perfect nose, her perfect eyes, and then it began, that slow transition from wild as a buck 5 year old girl to sweet tired angel. Her breathing got heavy, she turned her face toward her pillow, her eyes got lazy as she struggled to keep them open, and then it happened... the thing I have loved ever since God gave me this sweet baby girl, her little lips puckered and she made that ever so soft sucking sound like she used to when she took a paci. She will read this one day when she is older and be embarrassed to know at five she still made baby sounds in her sleep, but I love it. My heart is so full of love for her. The joy I got from the feel of her soft skin under my fingers as I traced her cheeks. The way her long black eyelashes felt as I ran my fingers over her eyes, the sound of that rhythmic breathing as she sank into sleep. It was so pure. That is the only word for it. Pure. So wonderful, such a representation of the awesomeness of a God that would allow us to feel a fraction of the love that He feels for us. A pure love. Times like that, I feel so close to Him, to her, to Heaven. It truly renders me speechless - Well, maybe not speechless... I came up with this, but you know what mean. It was a bedtime blessing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I am Green with Envy over people who are Green

Yes, I admit, I have a hippie heart. I cannot help it. So from here on out I am going to start posting some of my efforts to live simpler and greener, by taking steps to live a more natural life. I am not extreme( I don't think) and to meet me, you wouldn't think oooohhh "that girl is too much" I don't wear Birkenstocks ( mainly because I am really cheap - although I don't scrimp on shoes - but that is another post). Anyway, I do shave my legs etc, I don't drive a Prius, and although I really do love the Greateful Dead, I also branch out into other music. (However, I am a fan for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones). So where was I? Oh yes, my green efforts. Ok so I am naming the posts that will have to do with my green journey "Green with Envy" and I will take you on a journey with me as I attempt to achieve a new level of green :) Just call me the Grinch, or Kermit, or well heck, call me a hippie, I don't care.
Today I am starting simple. We don't use paper plates. There, I said it. We don't use paper plates (said it again). It is a commitment we made a few years ago when our church was doing a sermon series entitled "Managing Life" there was a sermon entitled "Managing Creation." From that point on my prince and I made a commitment to stop using paper plates. We have always eaten dinner on real plates but there were times when paper comes in quite handy. Like with little ones, and picnic in the back yard, Saturday morning muffins, stuff like that. Even though they come in extremely handy, we decided to "just say no" to paper. And you know what? We survived. We are still paper plate free, and loving it. I am proud of that commitment. It is a small step, but as you will see it lead to bigger things, and for that I am proud of that small accomplishment!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One Exclamation Point Please

This post will be short. I do not understand the use of multiple exclamation points. Did you not take elementary school grammar? An exclamation point shows excitement. If you use ten, what does that mean? You are doing back flips? It doesn't scream excitement to me, it screams " I am an goober who has to rely on punctuation, not the use of my vocabulary to express myself!!!" (like that touch with the 3 !) Anyway, think about it. There is something to be said about simplicity. One and done. That is my motto!

Weekend Wanderings

I have named this post "weekend wanderings" because really, that is what I am good at. For example, right now, I am watching the super bowl. Go Packers. Not that I really care, that much but Rothlisberger (the stealers qb) has a history of womanizing, so I am not a fan of him, therefore - I am pulling for the packers. Don't you love my logic? I will pause while you gather yourself. ANYWAY - I am watching the Superbowl, blogging, and thinking about the week ahead. Killer week, my prince has a birthday - meaning his mom and dad will be coming into town, meaning meal planning, house cleaning, etc. Then there is Valentines day. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike Valentine's day? I do. Not becuase I lived decades of my life lonely, and never had a valentine, not because I had a traumatic break up on valentines, but because, to get through college I waited tables at an Italian Restaurant. Have you ever heard of anyone who thought - hey, how about a nice romantic italian dinner for Valentines Day... original huh. Therefore my strong dislike of Valentines. I have to interrupt this thought to go back to the Packers. They just won the superbowl and interviewed Greg Jennings. He was the bomb. Very elopuently spoken and gave God the Glory. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Not that you did. Ok so back to Valentines Day. I have been sucked back in with my kids. Parties, Valentines, little gifts of love waiting for them when they wake up. So I am in, and have embraced my new found Valentine's Day participation. I will be blogging about the creative cards, and crafts we did and are doing later this week. But for now, I was talking about...what was I talking about? Oh yes, I was planning my week. It is going to be a wild one. We have the party planning, then we have Valentines planning, and on top of that I am catering a 90th Birthday party on Saturday. The day of the hubs birthday. That didn't go over so well but I got him a Snapper Lawn Mower for his birthday, so I was quickly forgiven! I know how to play my card. WEll I have wasted enough of your time for now. Stay tuned for the crafty valentines cards, neat valentine's gifts for the girls friends, and some recipes I will post from my upcoming catering job as well as the birthday party meal for my prince. Hope your week is eventful! Mine will be enough for all of us.

Remember Tuesday tune into Kids Revolution Blog for Chapter 1 of Robert Wolgemuth's The Most Important Place on Earth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are You on a Mission?

This year, my family is on a mission. A mission to create peace. We have to, it is our mission statement. Do you have one? Well, get one. They are awesome. At first I doubted, The hubs and I really aren't great at the follow through of these big ideas I get. I say "I" because truly I am the one who thinks up these things, and my dear sweet husband goes along with them, whether he wants to or not. ANYWAY, this one, he got on board with. We got the idea from a blog I read. We began formulating a vision for what we want our family to be about. We honestly came up with one word Peace . Out of that came a long, long list of character traits we wanted to instill in our children, then ideas of what our family would look like, and a list of values. What we ended up with was nearly a page of ideals that honestly, we couldn't even remember, much less find a way to incorporate into our daily lives. After the grand presentation of the finished product to my husband, he sat - dazed, eyes half crossed, and said..."I think we should cut it down a bit" He was being kind.
But we did do some "cutting and refining" and came up with this:

Our mission is to create peace by growing in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, being good stewards of our time,our money, our health and our earth and to practice loving, listening,forgiving, and laughing.

It's still a work in progress. A daily work in progress. It will evolve as our family dynamic changes, but the heart of it will always stay the same. We've all seen that cliche "No Christ No Peace, Know Christ Know Peace" - that's the goal, and so far it has served as a guide as we choose commitments, and as we make decisions about how to spend our family time.

There will be more on this journey along with pointers on how to develop your own mission statement. I am learning, and maybe I can share what I learn with you.

photo credit