Friday, April 30, 2010

~Cleaner Recipes~

I mentioned in my previous post that I made two cleaners at the green cleaning workshop that I went to. They handed out a sheet with the recipes, but there is no indication on the sheet where they got the recipes from.

Disinfectant: Fill 16 oz. spray bottle 3/4 full with water. Add 1 T. borax. Shake well. Add 3 T. castile soap (Dr. Bronner's) and 15-20 drops pure tea tree oil. Shake well before each use.

All Purpose Cleaner: Fill 16 oz. spray bottle up to the 16 oz. line with water. Add 1 t. borax, and 1/2 t. baking soda. Shake well. Add 2 T. vinegar, 1 T. lemon juice, and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. (I used lavender)

When choosing which essential oil to use, you can either use one you like or use one of the following: lavender, tea tree, lemon. I learned at the workshop that all three are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. They'll add a little extra "oomph" to your cleaner!

So far, I've found plenty of uses for both! Each evening after I do my dishes, I spray the counter down with the disinfectant and wipe it well, and rinse out my sponge and spray it several times with the disinfectant. I cleaned my bathroom today and used the disinfectant for the toilet with some baking soda in the bowl (dump a bucket of water in the toilet and it will empty the toilet bowl. Then you can clean with the disinfectant/baking soda). For the tub and sink I used the all purpose cleaner and put baking soda on my sponge. They both worked great, and I feel so much better cleaning with all natural cleaners and not having to worry about what fumes I'm breathing in.

One thing about green cleaners is that sometimes you'll need to add a little elbow grease. Another option is to do preventative cleaning. Moving away from magic potions chemicals may mean a little extra work, but it's worth it to me!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

~Green Cleaning~

With Earth Day being last Thursday, there was a lot of "green" talk on the blogosphere, and of course in communities too! I really appreciated Stephanie's view of Earth Day and "green" living. You can read it here. It's worth the read!

I attended a little workshop on "green cleaning". It was fascinating, and not only did I learn a lot, but I came home with two cleaning products I made in the class: a disinfectant and an all purpose cleaner!

I'm excited about learning more about green cleaning. So far I have loved cleaning with the two cleaners that I brought home. They smell so good and I know that as I spray them I'm not releasing harmful chemicals into my home!

As I replace my cleaners I plan on sharing my recipes. To me "green cleaning" equals "healthy cleaning". A lot of companies are now offering "green" products. But if you read the ingredients or look closer online (since they are not legally required to list their ingredients, you might not find a complete list anywhere) the ingredients are about the same as regular cleaners. So I have come to the conclusion that they have fewer chemicals in them, but they are not free from chemicals. This may not be the case for every green cleaner on the shelf, but for the ones I have looked into it has proved to be the case.

So the obvious solution is to make your own! :-) It is very inexpensive to buy the ingredients for your own cleaners. I checked, and my grocery store (Meijer) has all the ingredients, with the exception of the essential oils. Now, I did say it is inexpensive, but if you go out and buy all the ingredients at once, it will cost you something. However, once you make up your cleaners you will see how long the ingredients you purchased will last!

Next up: recipes for the all purpose cleaner and disinfectant
Tell me: do you make your own cleaners? and if so, what are your favorites?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

~National Infertility Awareness Week~

This week (April 24-May 1) is National Infertility Awareness Week. I have written about my own infertility struggles before - we waited almost seven years before seeing those double lines on a pregnancy test.

I have to say that infertility was one of the hardest things I've gone through. I know that all parents love their children, but I think my husband and I appreciate our daughter so much more because of the difficulties we went through.

In the post that I linked to above, there are several links that are helpful if you're on the other side of the fence: if you have friends or family who are going through the heartache of infertility, it is hard to know what to say or not to say, and sometimes you probably just don't know what to do! So do take a moment and click through to those links. The articles are short, so it won't take long to read through them.

And...if you're going through infertility right now, my heart goes out to you so much. Primary infertility (no living children) isn't understood by others and is very difficult to go through as I can attest to. I understand that secondary infertility (one or more living children, but unable to conceive after 12+ months of trying to conceive), which I have no experience with, is often harder for friends and relatives to understand and empathize with. Either way, it is a difficult and mostly lonely road to walk down.

Here are some great resources that helped me:
Stepping Stones, a free newsletter that you'll get every other month. Follow the link and click on the button "Subscribe Now".
Stepping Stones, look through the links on the side for a lot of encouragement and helpful information
Hannah's Hope, written by Jennifer Saake
Don't Waste Your Infertility, a blog article written by a man whose wife and he were going through infertility
There is also a lot of information at the RESOLVE site

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

~Spring Flowers~

My flower beds are pretty bare right now. I planted some perennials a few years ago, but most of them got killed by a very cold winter. But there are a few plants and flowers starting to grow!

I have two hostas, and I'm thinking of adding some more. They seemed to do well in the front.

These pretty flowers bloom in the spring. They spread pretty fast, and are quite hardy. I bought them in the spring of 2008 and didn't get them planted till the summer of 2009! They took root and grew nicely though! Could someone help me with identifying them? I don't have the plant marker for them!

This bleeding heart blooms from early spring to late fall. It has done really well since we put bark mulch in the bed.

Lilies of the Valley...I think of the song "He's the Lily of the Valley" every time I see them in bloom!

And a few tulips!

In the back yard I have lilacs getting ready to bloom, and the tulips will come shortly after. I'm hoping to get in some more perennials this year, especially to fill in the side flower bed. Usually, I put off weeding until I can plant (which is mid-May). But this year I'm getting a little ahead and weeding my beds early! It will make planting day a whole lot easier!

Monday, April 19, 2010

~If You Give a Mom a Muffin~

Are you familiar with the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? If so, you'll enjoy this variation:

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two-year-old.
While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

by Kathy Fictorie
based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

I was blog-hopping a few days ago, and reading through someone's archives. Unfortunately, I can't remember whose blog I was reading. So I Googled Swagbucked, and found it at a different site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

~Apple Galette~

Some time ago, I printed Amy Karol's recipe cheat-sheet, mostly because I wanted the gingerbread recipe. It has been on my fridge ever since, and now has another recipe over it. But the apple galette recipe was peeking out, calling my name.

So I made it:

The lighting wasn't very good, and it is on my (well-seasoned) baking stone. So it doesn't look very pretty, but it is seriously delicious!

When Amy blogged about it she said she and her husband ate it in six hours. Well, ha! Kevin and I have them beat! We had the whole thing consumed within two hours, I think. It is so delicious! better than apple pie! Next time I make this (because there will be a next time!) I will make it for company so that we have someone to share with. After all, it has a whole stick of butter in it. I tried to forget that as I was eating it. LOL

Friday, April 16, 2010

~'Lil Bloomers~

I took my bloomer/diaper cover pattern (from Ottobre 3/2009) and lengthened the legs by two inches, added lace along the hem, and instead of elastic for the legs, did elastic shirring, and, voila! Bloomers:

By the time babies get to size 18 months (and some 12 month sizes) the dresses don't always come with bloomers. But it is still nice to have something to cover the diaper. I thought I'd make a pair in white so that they would go with everything.

I love how they turned out but I think I'll also make a plain pair so that if I don't want the lace showing under the dress, I'll have something simple.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

~i before e except after c~

Here's a little spelling lesson for you today. *grin*

(It doesn't have anything to do with "ie" or "ei" though, I just thought that would make a catchy title...)

Do you know the difference between lose and loose? There is a big difference, you know. I see this spelling rule broken all the time online, and it drives me bonkers. LOL And don't worry, it wasn't you. It was just something I was thinking about today!

When something gets lost you lose it. One o. So you lose weight, or you are working on losing weight.

When something is too big, it is loose. An easy way to remember this is that loose rhymes with goose. Or moose. So you lose weight and then your clothes are too loose. But you can't loose weight, because that doesn't make sense!

Trust me, I'm no candidate for a spelling bee! I have to spell check every time I use the word definitely because I can never remember how to spell it! And every time I write beautiful, I think, "bee-E-A-U-tiful". And it's and its are always confusing too (I've probably misused them dozens of times on my blog). But I have no trouble remembering the difference between lose and loose. ;)

ETA #1 - LOL I had to come back and add an "ing" to a word for the sentence to make sense. I probably have other mistakes in this post too. Maybe I should skip the spelling lessons. Hahaha

ETA #2 - Misuse of "you're" pointed out to me. Good grief, this is my just due for posting this...I shall never point fingers again. ;-)

Friday, April 09, 2010

~Sundress and bloomers~

Late last summer I purchased two coordinating prints to make a dress for The Baby. However, I never got around to it, and the fabric sat in my bin all winter. When I was going through my fabric recently, I got the idea to make a little sundress and bloomers.

So that's what I did!

The sundress is shirred with elastic thread. It was so much fun to do the shirring! I didn't have a pattern for the dress, I just started cutting fabric and sewing. :-)

The bloomers are from Ottobre 3/2009. I used the pattern last winter to go with a little flannel dress. They work up quickly! I sewed a little ribbon loop in the back of the bloomers to make identifying the back easier.

This took me a while to get finished, not because the project itself took a long time, just because I sewed a little here and a little there. I'm glad it's finished, now we just need some sun! :-)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

~Now I just need fabric~

I just got One-Yard Wonders from Wow, this book is chock full with projects that I want to do! Unlike most knit/crochet/sewing/craft books that are about $20 and have one project that I'm interested in, this book actually has quite a few projects that I hope to get around to.

This is my favorite project in the book, I think I gasped when I saw it for the first time:

And this smock would be perfect for canning projects:

There are 101 projects in all. I won't be doing all 101 projects, but I have quite a few to choose from!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Yesterday was gorgeous! So gorgeous that I went for two different walks!

I don't think I'll be walking today though. Here's a little snippet of our weather:

It hailed for quite awhile, and is now back to heavy rain. I hope we get some warm weather back soon!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

~He lives!~

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
(Matthew 28:6a)

We serve a risen Savior!
May God bless you this Easter as we reflect on all Christ did for us.