Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Helping Out in End Times

If there is any doubt in your mind that the End Times of the Bible are closer than ever, just watch this and recall the words of Luke 21:10-11.

Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

One of my dearest heart friends is teaching in Manila. She has been experiencing these things first hand. If your heart prompts you to help, please do. The Earth is beginning to experience the pains of labor as we move closer to Christ's return. We must become doulas to those hardest hit. If we can't physically or financially participate, we must find it in our hearts to pray and believe that it is all happening for the Glory of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

I have also been referred to my friend's church (http://victoryfort.org/)to help financially. Please keep the people of Manila in your prayers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

From Lunch Box to Lunch Bag

The face of school lunch has changed drastically since I was a kid. Growing up in the days of Captain Kangaroo, The Muppet Show (my personal favorite), and Romper Room, the average homemade lunch would be in a plastic lunchbox with a huge plastic thermos which left very little room for anything but a sandwich and small snack. Our food would basically cook in the heat of our cubbies and generally stunk up the whole cafeteria when they were opened. Now a days, the homemade lunch looks much different. In my quest to go a little greener, I have come across a couple of things for my Bird's lunch that I would like to share with you. Firstly, the plastic cartoon character lunchbox has been replaced with the ecofriendly lunch bag. A few years ago, I found this . Bird and Bean both have the pink one with their names embroidered on the top. The only problem is that they are probably not BPA or lead-free (not things I was even aware of at the time I found them). This has a little compartment to put an ice pack to keep things cool. Genius. Instead of the huge plastic thermos, I found this . It's a little small and pricey, but it is nontoxic and cute. I also have opted against paper napkins and instead let Bird pick out 5 different pretty washclothes (one for each day of school). The only two problems I am currently wrestling with now are finding the actual food containers. Currently, I am using small plastic storage containers for most of her food (again less trash, but not necessarily non toxic), and wax paper for her sandwiches (more trash, not as toxic (I hope)). I honestly thought that I would have to settle, until now. I found this site . They have containers AND food kozies, who would have ever thought. They sell the whole lunch bag set!!!! They are beautiful and well priced. Who knew I could have avoided all that frustration by just one click of the mouse? How did I find this amazing website? Through a giveaway at my friend, Tracey's site . Check it out. I really hope to win the set of stainless steel containers, but, you can bet your buttons, if I don't, I will be using the 15% discount and I will be purchasing a set of those kozies, no matter what.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Faux Pas

I just committed a horribly embarrassing world wide web faux pas! One of the blogs I follow is giving something away (a gorgeous day planner for 2010) and all you have to do is leave a comment, which I did, TWICE!!!! Now, not only do I look like an idiot, I look greedy. Basically, my computer burped after I sent the first one, and it had a message on my screen about disconnecting from the site I was on. When I went back, my post wasn't there, so I decided to try again. I basically wrote the same thing (even more embarrassing) but (come to find out) with many more spelling errors (horrors!!)!!! After my computer burped again with the same messgae, I checked back only to find the TWO of them. I thought about posting an apology, but decided that would just make things worse. So here I am to blog it out. That's what these things are for right? Time to move on, nobody's been hurt, if I don't win, they'll never think of me again...I hope.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Time Has Come

I woke up this morning with aching joints, a sore scratchy throat, and sharp pains in my ear, head and neck. I believe my time has come. Although Mommy being sick doesn't stop the spinning of the world, it certainly seems to slow it down a bit. Why is it that everyone else is healthy, strong and completely wound up from days of being in bed, and then I get sick. This isn't going to be pretty people. Pray for me, my 'sick socks', my Tylenol, and most of all my family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For Every Season

Since Bird was home 'sick', yesterday, I took the opportunity to start to switch our clothes from summer to winter. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that Bird was sick when I picked her up from school, but all yesterday's activity told me otherwise. To find out last night that she had a temp of 100.0 still, baffled me. Upon waking up this morning to the same (even after another night of 'sick socks') just didn't seem right. After some diagnostic testing, the verdict is that the temporal thermometer is broken. Bean had pulled the tip off and replaced it after I had taken Bird's temp a few days ago. So, with a day of us all stuck at home, 'sick', moving clothes it was. I have to admit that after 5 years and three kids, I have finally gotten the system down. I am blessed to have quite a bit of storage in my basement (being as it is unfinished). I have a storage tote for each size: 0-6, 6-18, 24-2T, 3T, 4/4T, 5, & 6+. The 6+ is for all the clothes that people give us that have not yet been designated a tote of their own because nobody is big enough to wear them. At one point, I tried to even separate summer from winter, but I realized that I usually hang on to at least 3-4 outfits from the previous season to help make the transition smoother. There is nothing worse than having an unusually warm day in October, and no short sleeve shirts to celebrate. I begin with Bird, I clear everything out of her dresser and closet and fold them out into sizes/seasons. I bring up the totes for whatever size is in her closet/drawers and the next size up. I pick out a few key items from this season to hold onto, and try on things from the next size to see where we're at. This year, Beanbag had more things than would fit in her drawers and closet, so I let her go 'shopping'. I picked out anything that was stained or I didn't quite like and set them aside. Ithen let her pick out what she liked and packed the rest back into the tote (Bunny may have different taste by 3T). Today it's my stuff and Bunny's stuff. Going through Bunny's stuff always makes me sad because I realize it may be the last time I'm seeing these things. Whether we decide to have another child or not, there is no guarantee that it would be another girl. My clothes on the other hand are depressing for a whole different reason. Because of my constant increase (maternity/ size 22 at my largest) and decrease (size 6 at my smallest) in sizes the past 5 years, it's always a chance drawing on what actually fits and corresponds with the season. Pray for me and my current endeavour.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sick Socks

I need to send the greatest internet shout-out ever to my friend, Tracey for her post yesterday. It was perfect timing. I'm one of the many people that Tracey had recommended this treatment to a while back. It is known as the "Wet Sock Treatment", but around these parts, they're known as "Sick Socks". I can't believe that I forgot about "sick socks". They were what got us through our usual tri-annual sick phases last year in record time. Our first tri-annual sick phase is when it starts warming up and things start growing and the pollen is thick in the air. Our second tri-annual sick phase is now, when things start cooling off, dying, and decomposing. Our third tri-annual sick phase is when we start the wood stove (our primary source of heat). Each phase lasts about 3 weeks each. Last year it was maybe a week each, and we avoided Beanbag's tri-annual visit to the ER for croup. How could I forget something so detrimental to our well-being? I'm going to blame it on my post-partum mama brain (or lack thereof). For the past week or two we've all been experiencing a sniffle here, a cough there, a few sinus headaches, a twinge of a sore throat, but yesterday, Bird got sent home from school with a fever. I have to be quite honest with you, fevers freak me out. I only have 3 kinds of over the counter medicine readily available in my home: homeopathic eardops, homeopathic cough syrup (for Beanbag's croup, which also freaks me out), and Tylenol for every age group. After reading Tracey's post, I was reminded of the first time she had told me about "sick socks". Everyone in my house had been sick for about two weeks with no end in sight. Bean had just started barking, Bird was throwing up, and I had the worst headache (it may have been because I was sick or it could have been from listening to Sug complain about how sick he was, either way). I have been friends with Tracey for years and although some of the stuff she comes up with may seem a little off the wall, they are very rarely wrong. So, I collected clean white cotton socks for all of us, the hard part was the wool socks for the kiddos. Besides ordering them from L.L.Bean (which don't have them, but Rugged Bear does), I couldn't think of a place, locally that would sell such things, so I headed out to our local Salvation Army store and bought a wool sweater. I cut off each sleeve and made two pairs of kids wool socks out of them. They may not be pretty, but they work. We all hated putting the ice cold wet socks on our feet, but by morning, when they were dry and we felt better (and slept so well) there was no going back. Yesterday when I picked Bird up at school she had a temperature of 100.8 (30 minutes after being given Tylenol). She was asleep on the floor when I went to pick her up and she continued to sleep until 6:30 when I woke her up to eat something. I then gave her a bath and set the "sick socks" to work. She immediately fell back to sleep. Bird woke up this morning with a a temperature of 100.0, but she's feeling much better. I will be using them again tonight and keeping her home from school again tomorrow, but Thursday...it's on. Thanks again Tracey.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thank God

I just wanted to use this post to thank God for being God. Who am I that HE (the Creator of Heaven and Earth) should care to even acknowledge me, never mind care for me and love me and be so abundantly patient with me. I am so ungrateful and dense for all that He has given me and to the plans He has for me and my family. It may sound ridiculous to thank someone for being themselves, because I guess they just are who they are. I am thankful for God's sovereignty, His holiness, His perfect love, His listening ears, His giving hands, His plans for salvation for here on Earth as well as eternity, His holy word, His encouragement, His wisdom, His patience, and His consistency. There is no way I could list it all, but for this small moment in time I am truly thankful.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I just had to share some words of wisdom that I overheard on the cartoon Olivia, a few minutes ago.
Olivia was explaining to a friend, that she would like a ferret as a pet, but couldn't have one because "My mom says that 3 kids, a dog, a cat, and a goldfish is enough." (Olivia's mom, I hear you, sister! I couldn't have said it better myself)
Olivia's brother asked his friend what he would like to be when he grows up. His friend responded "I'm just trying to take one day at a time." (Speak it!)
Now that's quality programming!


Earlier today, I took Bean and Bunny over to my father's house. As you may know we are planning a Wizard of Oz birthday party for Bean, and I needed some hay for all things Scarecrow. My father just had someone come to harvest his hay a few days ago so there is still quite a bit that can be raked up and bagged for our purposes. After stuffing 2 huge garbage bags full and loading us all back up into the car, we headed home. The ride home is literally 5 minutes (if you get stopped at the light). I had on the country music station and was lost in my own little world of song while Bean counted to 10 in Spanish over and over again (thank you,Dora). All of a sudden, blood curdling shrieks of panic filled my eardrums and fear filled my heart as I tried to figure out what was happening. Then, I saw it. It was sitting in Bird's booster seat right next to Bean, it was the biggest grasshopper ever. Maybe not quite, but it was a good 3" at least. Bean was scrunched up all the way to the other side of her carseat, crying, screaming, and gasping for breath. I pulled over as quickly as possible, wondering if grasshoppers had ears, and set our newest passenger free. This was one of those things that was way more entertaining after the fact. I'm actually still chuckling at the thought. I'm just glad the grasshopper didn't actually land on Bean or her carseat instead. This could be a much different post.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've got a few projects and hopes of projects going on for the next couple of days. I've started my yellowbrick road for Beanbag's birthday party as well as sent out the evite. Almost everyone has responded and is coming! I have a 500 yd roll of yellow plastic table cloth material on which I am tracing a book with black Sharpie. It's coming out pretty well so far. Normally, I'd be totally against using that much plastic for anything, but I actually have plans to reuse it for our teepee. I've tried the cloth cover and it just grows mold way too quickly, this yellow brick road ahould be a perfect cover for it. I am also trying to take notes from "The Maker's Diet" so I can have the 'important stuff' set aside for review when necessary. I also have high hopes of baking some zucchini chocolate chip cookies with the plethera of zucchini I have accumulated from my crop share over the past 2 weeks. Finally, I have a friend who just had her first baby, and I have yet to pay a visit because Bird and Bean have had a little cough. I sent over dinner with the hubby, but today I hope to be able to drop off some 'hiney helper' to aid in her recovery. 'Hiney helper' is the name I gave to the tea soaked gauze pads that my midwife made for me. With comfrey, chamomile and raspberry leaf placed in the fridge/freezer, these pads soothe, cool and heal. So, in addition to getting the kiddies off and keeping up with some household stuff and my first day of BSF questions, it looks like I may have a very busy day! Oh, and I forgot to post that Bunny got her first tooth the other day!!!! It's really cute and there was no fuss or muss about it. I actually happened upon it by chance!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today is MY Day!

Today is the day I've been waiting for since Bunny was born. Today was my first day back to BSF. BSF stands for Bible Study Fellowship (International). About 8 years ago when I came to the realization that Jesus was the real deal, I had no church and really didn't want one until I knew what I believed. I wanted to choose a church based on my beliefs rather than beliefs based on my church. A friend of mine had encouraged me to join BSF. At that time, they had just begun a study of the book of John and I went. I have been in and out of the program (due to pregnancies and having young babies) ever since. I LOVE it. It is a 4 fold study/learning/training program. FOLD 1:You are given a question sheet that leads you through a portion of scripture each day for the week. Some questions are factual, some are conceptual and some are personal. It can get pretty deep and intense, in a good way. FOLD 2:Then, on BSF day, you go over the questions in your small group. This was really intimidating for me at first, because I didn't feel as though I knew much, but once I had realized that some of the more seasoned Christians were coming up with the same answers that I had, I really began to enjoy it. FOLD 3: Next, all the small groups get together for a lecture on the same things we've been studying and talking about. (I want to say that this is my favorite, but it's all my favorite) FOLD 4: Attached to the next weeks question sheet are 4-5 pages of notes. Talk about in depth study! Not only is this something that I look forward to, but they have a preschool program that is AMAZING. The kids actually learn the same things that the adults are learning....in preschool! As if that wasn't enough, we were informed today that they will be opening up classes for toddlers as well as infants (6 months +). The babies will be prayed over and the toddlers will be learning the same things as the adults and preschoolers! I can't wait. The infant program won't begin until January, but bet your buttons, Bunny will be one of the first babies on that list. This year, once again, we will be studying the book of John. Wow!!! The last time I did this study, I wasn't even engaged yet never mind married with 3 kids. I can't wait to look back on some of my old material to see what things God was revealing to me then and how it is similar to or totally different from what He's showing me now. BSF is an international worldwide program, they are everywhere! They can be found at . They are open to anyone who desires to study the Bible whether you are a church-goer or not. Check them out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Did you ever just want to hug someone so deeply that you were afraid you could squeeze them straight through?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Parenting 101

Don't you wish they had a class? Well, I guess they do. There are probably tons of classes, not to mention TV shows, books and movies on the subject. What most of these Parenting 101 venues fail to mention is that each and every kid, each and every parent, and therefore each and every family is different. Unfortunately for me, I love to study and read. In my childhood and growing up, I learned a lot about how NOT to raise children and how NOT to create a loving home. I am not mentioning this to be disrespectful or dishonoring to my mother, as she has admitted such and has asked to be forgiven for it. Granting her forgiveness may have been a whole lot harder to do if I hadn't already been a mother myself. Having a small outline of things NOT to do is a world away from having a small outline of things to do. So, my studious self decided to set out to finding the secret of parenting. No one resource had the answers I sought. Surprised? Believe it or not, I was. Even my beloved guide to life left me with more questions than answers. This weekend, we had the mother of all meltdowns at my house. The crying and screaming was atrociously embarrassing and the children were really misbehaving, too. They had us completely undone and pitted against one another. Not acceptable. We finally calmed down and held a family meeting. Mom and Dad are in charge by order of God Almighty Himself. We must discipline by order of His Holy Word. It may not be pretty, and we may not be making any friends in the process, but there is nothing to lead us to believe that being our child's friend is of any importance in the kingdom of God. Needless to say, we dropped the proverbial hammer. We started to bless the goodness and restrict the garbage. Right now, we are using money (dimes to be precise). This is very similar to the sticker system; good behavior earns stickers and when a specified amount is acquired, the child will receive a reward. We tried this, but my kids always ended up sticking the stickers to the floor or wherever and fighting over whose was prettier... So money it is. The children never actually receive the money, as I don't think they should be paid for good behavior, but they can use the money to 'buy' TV, computer or movie time. They can also share their dimes with their sibling in order to make a shared decision for something they couldn't afford separately. We're only 3 days deep, but with this system in addition to our scripture based "naughty wall", life has been totally bearable, dare I say enjoyable. This is what is working for us right now, in a month or two it could be different. I have faith that God will iron out all the details and when my children are old enough they, too, will be able to forgive their parents for not knowing exactly how to do it right. With God's refining power, by the time Jesus comes back, maybe someone in my lineage will have this parenting thing nailed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

36" 24" 36"

Well, not quite. Bunny is 5 months old, yet it feels as though I've been wearing nursing bras for an eternity. In my last trimester of being pregnant with Bird, I was so excited to try on the brand new, clean, crisp white bras with the little snap out middle that would soon be useful for feeding my newest little one. That was more than 5 years ago and being as I conceived Bean 1 week after weaning Bird and conceived Bunny 1 month after weaning Bean, those sweet little nursing bras have been working over time. For my past two pregnancies, I started wearing my nursing bras sometime in the first trimester. I started showing earlier and earlier and needed something more comfortable for my ever expanding rib cage and bustline. A few months ago, Bird saw me get out of the shower and, to quote a sad truth, exclaimed, "Wow Mommy, your boobahs are long!". Ten years ago my boobahs would have been described as anything but long, never mind the fact that they weren't even called boobahs. So here I am, 5 years and 3 well nursed/nursing babies later, with long boobahs. To add insult to injury, I have lost very little baby fat in my midsection and have been feeling as though the only thing holding my breasts up these days is my stomach. Pretty picture, ehh? It has all been bothering me for at least a couple of weeks now, so today was the day. I headed into the big city to have my first official bra fitting. I have no idea what size I am right now, and because I wanted something to hold me up and shape me (no more uni-boob), I figured I'd do better in the hands of a professional. Man, was I right. The bra I wore in was a wireless nursing bra that had seen better days, the one I walked out with was exactly the same size (a total coincidence), but with an underwire and a molded cup. This bra is pretty and does what it's supposed to do. I can still nurse with it, by popping my breast out of top of the cup, but I think I may save it for date nights and days when I'm expected to be around other people. I actually look a lot more like a woman than like a sad, old, overmilked cow.

I had a teacher in the fourth grade, Mrs. M. I loved her so much and thought she was so beautiful. Mrs. M was a full figured woman and during silent reading time, she would hold her book with one hand and set her cup of coffee (or it could have been vodka for all I know) on her large shelf like bosom. When she said the Pledge of Allegiance, it looked like she was holding down a couple of helium balloons. Please don't think I am writing this to be cruel or hurtful, because that is not the case. I wanted to be just as voluptuous and curvy as Mrs. M. Today, I can say that I may not be the same size as Mrs. M., but I have the comfortable confidence in this not quite size 2 body, that Mrs. M. had all those years ago. I would just like to thank God, Mrs. M., and the woman with the warm hands and measuring tape.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Good-Bye and God Bless

Today is the day that we are shipping our sock monkeys off to California! With a kiss and a prayer, they will be delivered into the hands of a child who will love them, not that my own children weren't willing to do so. They weren't perfect, but they were cute, and I learned how to do something new while helping out a great cause.

PS The guy on the left was finished before bed last night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I admit my ignorance. I don't know a dang thing about soccer. My brother played in high school and there was always a week or three of it in gym class, so I get the general rules of the game. When it comes to outfitting a 5 year old soccer player, I'm totally lost. Cleats- my 5 year old really needs shoes with spikes on the bottom....all the better to hurt your sister with, my dear. Shin Guards- I had to call my MIL about this (she's been coaching soccer for about 20 years now). Her response was "they basically need to cover the shin". How high/ How low? Do they come in pink? Where do they sell them? Today's mission has been set before me. I've measured Bird's shin, 7 or 8 inches long, and have 3 store suggestions. Pray for me!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

God is Faithful

When Sug and I were looking to buy a house, I was completely overwhelmed. Bird was almost 2 and I was pregnant with Bean, and I loved EVERY house we saw. Sug was only interested in looking at houses from only 2 different towns and scheduled all the rest for me to see during the week. Now, I had been in prayer about a house for a while and I truly wanted to follow God's lead as I know He had the perfect place for us. I know that in following the path God has set before me, I can be quite dense, so I asked Him to make it abundantly clear as to where He wanted us. After weeks upon weeks of what seemed like silence, I finally knew that we would be paying a specific certain amount for our home. The control freak in me then began to only look at houses in that particular price range. I totally believed God, or so I thought. During this particular time, I was also trying to trust God in my marriage. Submission is a dirty word in my book, or at least it was until I really started practicing it. After a few more weeks, I knew that my husband was supposed to choose our home, and no matter what he chose, or for what reason he chose it, the house he picked was the one. Now, I may take God at His word and know within the depths of my being that it is true, but you can believe me that I had quite a conversation with God on that subject. After finally submitting my will to that of the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, and subsequently, my husband, we found a house online that was quite a bit out of our price range. When we went to see it, there were about 10 other people with us. The stench of urine burned your eyes and nostrils about 15 feet before you even go into the house. The entire house (except the bathroom) was covered in carpet that had obviously not been vacuumed for a LOOOOONNNNGG time. In one of the back rooms, there was a tree/shrub/bush that had grown in through the open window. The bathroom had a stack of wet towels leaning up against the wall that was up to my chin and reeked of mildew and mold. In the master bedroom, there was a piddle pad for the dogs on the floor surrounded by 3-4 piles of dog poop. The amount of cobwebs and dust would naturally lead one to believe that the house was abandoned, but the sink full of dirty dishes told another story. Finally, we were led into the basement which to quote the high-heeled big haired supermodel standing beside me "it smells like raw sewage, I'm sure that is raw sewage... I gotta get out of here." My thoughts exactly, sister! After walking through the house a second time, I knew it. He hadn't said anything yet, but I knew this THIS was the house Sug was going to want to buy and I knew God wanted me to go along with it! WHAT?!? There was no way, I must have heard God all wrong. You can bet your...bottom dollar that I went straight to God with that, right there and then, while I stood in the driveway and my husband and beloved real estate agent trekked through the waist high grass to find the exact parameters of the property. I think I recall our conversation going something like this: "God, I love you, but you have got to be crazy. I have a little girl to think about and a baby on the way. We can't live here. There is a plastic tote full of tub, shower and sink water in the basement that is being pumped into the backyard where my kids are supposed to play. It's out of our price range anyway (scary but true), and I'm beyond sure that you don't want me or anyone in my family to die of Lyme's disease. I am so pregnant that I can't even help with any work that this house would need and being the super nurser (I don't mean that I'm a great nurser, I just mean that I do it a lot for a decent period of time)that I am, it will be quite sometime before I can help. (then my sensibilities kicked in and I remembered who I was talking to) But God, if you made this for us and it's ours to have, I need a couple of things. Firstly, I need something...anything...to hold onto as a sign of hope. I also need the actual price of the house to be THE number, or I will be convinced that it is not from you and that it should be passed by. Thirdly, I need to know that no matter what, we will be able to pay the mortgage. And, what is the name of this post? Amen, He is, God is Faithful. During the second walk through of the house, the person who lived there was home and gave us her own tour, explaining everything. They had tried to make the house as undesirable as possible because they didn't want to move, her parents, the owners, had informed them quite matter of factly and there was quite a bit of bitterness and hostility in the air over it. She then began to show us all the fruit trees and the little porch swing that was covered in junk and finally, the answer to my prayer, a little side porch that went completely unnoticed because of the overgrown brush that covered it (which come to find out was actually the most beautiful thicket of Wisteria). On the top of this little porch were two of the most beautiful little stained glass windows. This was my something. My anything. From that point forward, I was on board. No shocker, we paid exactly what I knew we would for the house. Three years later,(2 weeks ago)our house is actually our home. Septic system fixed, hardwoods installed, field mowed regularly, bathroom replaced, we are at home. Don't get me wrong, there is still so much that needs to be done, but either way, it is our home. Oh, and the whole point of this post? God has been faithful to provide each and every payment thus far despite my husband throwing his back out and being on TDI for an entire summer, and me being in my current state of unemployment. Our mortgage is due on the first. We had $112 in the bank and still needed groceries. Yesterday, a friend of ours called to drop off some money he owed my husband. Sug has been helping this friend clean out properties that have been foreclosed. This friend, had sold one of these properties and in addition to the usual hourly rate, included a bonus which totalled to this month's mortgage payment!!! He is Faithful. He is Good. He is our Creator and Sustainer. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, these are things I should expect and know, but it's always nice to be reminded.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Greening the Cleaning

It works out perfectly. My husband's birthday is the first week if September. In order for me to have people over for his birthday (which is also the birthday of my twin sisters), I need to clean my house. In my world, cleaning is VERY different from straightening up. Straightening up is done 1-3 times a week and includes throwing all the toys in the playroom, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and occasionally dusting. Cleaning happens 2-4 times a year and consists of walking around to each room with a bucket of supplies, vacuuming screens, dusting ceilings and the like. Since I got pregnant with Bunny, I started becoming a little more aware of what I've been doing to the environment. I've slowly been replacing our household cleaning products (bleach, ammonia, Lysol...) with all natural, frugal, and environmentally friendly products (baking soda, vinegar, soap nuts, Mrs Meyers...). It's been pretty difficult to convince the hubby that vinegar and water is just as effective as Windex, so I've been a little devious and when the Vinegar Windex bottle was empty, I just refilled it with vinegar and water, and we are both satisfied. (Because I confessed this to the cyberworld, the next time I see him using it, I will have to confess it to him as well.) Today, I'm really excited to clean because it is the first time I will be using only all natural products to clean (not including my toothbrush and sponge). I've been using soap nuts for my laundry detergent, but yesterday I whipped up a batch of concentrated soap nut cleaner. I found the recipe here: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/09/using-soap-nuts-for-household-cleaning.html. And since I will be using it in conjunction with my Lemon Verbena scented Mrs. Myers, I will be adding a splash of lemon juice to my mixture. I will also be washing Bunny's dirty diapers with it. Yeah yeah what a day! I may have to take before and after pictures, but they will never make it here as I don't want the world to see the before pictures.

Friday, September 4, 2009


We've been living in our own little Garden of Eden for about 3 years now. Our approximately 2 acre property has a mini assortment of free growing fruits. We have pears, peaches, grapes, apples, strawberries, crabapples, blueberries, and raspberries. Usually, we only have enough grapes, pears and crabapples to do any canning without having to use some from the supermarket or farmers market, but this year, we had more than enough peaches, too!!! Not only was I able to make a substantial batch of jam, but I still have enough ripening on the counter to can as they are for winter! I have been messing around with jelly and jam recipes since we moved in and only this year did I find the perfect (any fruit) jam recipe. I found it at my favorite site www.allrecipes.com but the specific site for the jam is http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Strawberry-Jam/Detail.aspx.

Here's the basic jist of the recipe:
4 cups of fruit (mashed)
4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Fill your canning pot with water and start it on a high temperature burner so that it will be boiling by the time the jam is ready. Place 3 dishes in the freezer to test the consistency of the jam. Mix all ingredients in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Set the heat to boil, as the pot and ingredients are heating continue to stir occasionally until the sugar has melted and the pot is at a rolling boil, then stir continuously for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, take a teaspoonful of the jam and put it on one of the plates that had been placed in the freezer. Run your finger through the jam. If the jam runs back together, continue to let it boil for another 2-3 minutes, and try again. If not, turn off the heat and continue to stir until the jam has stopped boiling. Put into clean sterilized jars and begin your canning process.

I love this recipe because I don't have to mess with pectin and the sugar to fruit ratio is 1:1 as opposed to most recipes which are usually 7:4. It is perfect as far as sweetness and consistency go, and you can always make it a little runny to use as an ice cream or waffle topping.

Easy peasy and super delicious. This year for Christmas, each of my husband's siblings and their families will be getting a basket of fresh jams and homemade bread as well as homemade personalized aprons for each of the children. So far, I've made strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and peach. Within the next week or so, our apples will be done, and it looks like I won't have to add any of them from the market this year either!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Smelling Like Roses

So here it is....Since having children, I have yet to have a day that I end up smelling like roses. 15 days ago I began a mission to have one day (not even a 24 hour period, just from 6AM-8PM) that I did not have to deal with poop. I know I still have to change Bunny's diapers, but does she need to decide to do her happy dance just in time to get it on her foot and kick it all over my arm? And I know that Beanbag is potty training, but do I have to find out that she had an accident by sitting down in the exact chair that she pooped herself in? And I know Chloe hates me, but can't she just prove it by eating out of the trash again instead of stepping in a pile of the stuff she left in the middle of my kitchen floor? And I know I need to clean out the litter box, but why is there poop on the outside of it? And then there was the day of the mystery poop, which still goes unresolved. I was cleaning the house and while vacuuming the living room, I noticed a smudge on my arm, which was most definitely poop. Where it came from, I have no idea. I just have to chalk it up to another poopy day. Today has already been crossed off of the potentially poop free day, but there's always tomorrow. I have been praising God for things like baking soda, vinegar, soap nuts, and anti bacterial hand sanitizer as well as hiney wipes, paper towels and house rags. The first day without poop will be a cause for celebration, but I know that the first year without poop will be a cause of sadness and reminiscence of days gone by. Everybody is going to have a crappy day, and today is just one day in a long string of crappy days, and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Party Planning

I LOVE to plan parties. In college, I used to house sit for my German professor. She has the most amazingly beautiful home that is perfect for entertaining. I would throw huge extravagant dinner parties there, taking a week or two to plan the guest list and dinner menu. Then came the mother of all parties, my wedding. Months upon months of planning and accommodating the needs and wishes of all involved. It wasn't always pretty or perfect, but I had a great time and so did my guests. The skinny dipping in the hotel pool which had glass walls facing the completely full lobby was sign enough for me. Now it's time to have parties for my girls. I so look forward to them and put so much energy into them that I've decided that thy have to rotate major birthday parties (family parties). My husband is 1 of 8 children almost all of which are married and have children of their own. I also let my girls invite the same number of friends (and their parents) as it is their new age, so "family parties" tend to get a little large. So far, only Birdie has had a family party, as a matter of fact, she's had 3. We celebrate their first birthdays with just us, small and intimate, recalling the special day that they joined the family and our lives were changed. Beanbag is going to be 3 next month and has yet to have a family party. So, it's time to start planning. The theme? The Wizard of Oz!!! How fun!!! My girls love the Wizard of Oz, Annie, Mary Poppins, Little House on the Prairie... Any of these would have been great, but the Wizard of Oz can be incredible. Imagine a rainbow arch of balloons, Find the Lollipop in the Scarecrow's Straw Patch, Pin the Heart on the Tin man, Cowardly Lion Beanbag Toss, huge spiral lollipops, the Yellow Brick Road, The Emerald City, characters galore!!! I am amped!!! Let's get this party started. Today's the day to firm up the guest list. It's a "family party", so the family will be invited, but should I allow her to invite her whole preschool class or just 3 friends? If I invite her preschool class, I may also allow her to invite 3 friends as well, because by then, what does it matter? Oh I look forward to the thoughts and ideas that I will be experiencing today!!! Got to go, I'm off to see the Wizard!

PS Bean's birthday isn't until October. I know I'm nuts.