Friday, December 4, 2009

Natural Toiletries

So, I'm forever on a quest to find natural, homemade ways to do away with store-bought, toxic, chemical-ridden household supplies.  Cleaning supplies and toiletries are at the top of my list.  Recently I've begun making some home-made toiletries that are super easy, and super cheap!  And dare I say, even BETTER than the store bought stuff.  I love sharing this stuff, and I love it when I have converts.  So, if you become a convert, please do share. 

1) Toothpaste:  I've been using baking soda.  Yep.  That's it.  I keep a jar of it on my bathroom counter because I use it for most of my homemade cleaning supplies, and also for shampoo for my husband (I'll get to that later).  I wet my toothbrush, then dip it in the baking soda, and voila!  Brusha brusha, and you've got yourself a nice, natural, whitening, halitosis-ending toothpaste!  (I think this must have been the way they did it in the olden days, before Tom of Maine was around).  I'll admit, the taste takes a bit of getting used to, but it's not that bad.  And I like knowing I'm not putting anything unknown into my mouth, or ingesting it....especially that mind-altering stuff, fluoride.

2) Deodorant:  OK, this one is fun!  I recently read someone's recipe for deodorant, and made some myself.  It's 1:1 ratio of distilled water (I used tap) and hydrogen peroxide.  Plus about seven drops of Lavender Essential Oil (EO), and seven drops of Tea Tree Oil (TTO).  The Lavender and TTO have antibacterial properties, so they are good to use on those stinky pits.  Depending on the amount of liquid you are making, you'd want to adjust your drops of EOs up or down.  They make it smell lovely.  I put the ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray it on in the mornings. 

Buuuut....I've been using the above recipe for a couple days, and I'm pretty stinky by the end of the day. So, I'll be changing my recipe to the concoction I mixed up tonight:

1/4 cup baking soda (that glorious thing I use in EVERYTHING.  Ok, maybe not, but close.)
1/4 cup cornstarch
about 4 tablespoons coconut oil (maybe more, maybe less.  Just adjust to the consistency you like)
Tea Tree and Lavender EOs

 For those of you who don't know of the wonders of coconut oil, maybe I'll devote a blog to that someday soon, but in the meantime, here's a little factoid:  it has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, in my house right now, it's solid stuff.  I had to heat it up to get it liquid to make my concoction.

I put it in a small mason jar, and have it on my counter to rub on my pitsos tomorrow morning.  I'm really excited.  (Is that weird?)  I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm just excited to not be putting another mind-altering substance into my body.....aluminum

3) Lotion:  Coconut Oil.  Yep.  That's it! (again).  I've ditched the Lubriderm that I've been addicted to for over a decade, and tried this wonderful thing called Coconut Oil.  I've been using it on my face as a facial moisturizer for a while (and loving it!), and I decided to start on my whole body.  I filled a little jar I bought at Wal-mart for $1.97 with some coconut oil, and I keep it in the shower.  I oil myself up after each shower, and feel soooo silky smooth.  Plus, there's the added benefit of smelling all tropical.  Like I just stepped off the plane from Hawaii.  Yum.  It also helps heal scars, and is good for mitigating eczema.  It can be used as a personal lubricant (that's natural, and won't burn!), for yeast infections (is this TMI?), and even is used by some for weight loss!  I know it sounds crazy, and very counter-intuitive, but it's true. 

4) Anti-dandruff:  Apple Cider Vinegar.  I've been doing this one for a few months.  Every time I start getting itchy scalp, I douse my head in some ACV, sleep with it on for one night, and the next morning the flakes are gone, the itching has ceased, and I'm back to normal.  It's such a cheap, easy way to fix this issue that I do not enjoy having.

5) Shampoo and Conditioner:  Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  So this is not one I'm doing myself, but I've gotten my hubby to do it.  I fill up a plastic katsup bottle type thing I got at Wal-mart for $.97 with 2 tablespoons Baking Soda and 2 cups water.  Shake it up, and pour it on. Hubby works it into his scalp.  Then he rinses with the other ketchup bottle filled with ACV.  One tip I've heard about is to not put the ACV directly on your scalp (unless you are doing the anti-dandruff thing mentioned above, and are going to wash your hair in the morning).  It will make your scalp produce more oils, and you'll be a grease-ball all day.  So, just rinse your hair with it.  I'm no expert, and this homemade toiletry still needs some work and figuring out, but I thought I'd mention it, in case anyone wants to go "poo free". 

If all of this sounds daunting to you, I completely understand.  My husband and I talked for MONTHS about making our own cleaning supplies.  We just felt like it was a big step.  We also weren't sure it would work, and we kinda didn't know how to do it (well, we had recipes, but they required collecting empty bottles and such, so it was too much work).  Once we decided to take that huge leap, and mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar to make our all-purpose cleaner (Whew!  Glad that's over!), we realized it is waaay easier than putting it on the shopping list, searching for it at the store, and bringing it home.  Not only is is time-saving, but most of our homemade cleaners cost pennies compared to the dollars that we spent on commercial ones.  The same is true with our homemade toiletries.  So, I just want to say, "YOU CAN DO IT!"  If this sounds at all fun or exciting to start making your own stuff, I encourage you to set aside 20 minutes to sit down, read the directions, find your empty containers, and get yourself set-up to do it.  I think you'll be glad you did.  We sure were.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Andrew Milton Pease

** Warning: The content of this post might be sensitive to some, so read with caution.**

The above picture is of me and my big brother, circa 1977.  Most of you know that my brother Andy passed away in February. He was 36 years old, a father to two awesome boys, and a husband of 15 years.  He had just battled a three year bout with thyroid cancer, and had received the clean bill of health from the doctors just weeks before his death.  He had been on the 12 year college plan, and was 2 units away from graduating from Humboldt State University.  He and his wife had looked forward to his graduation for so long because it meant their hopes of a stable, family-supporting job was within reach.  They had struggled financially for years, and this was the light at the end of the tunnel.  They had planned to move out of their 600 square foot apartment this Fall, and into a roomier house.  Their plans came to a screeching halt on the evening of February 6th, 2009.

Andy had just started a new job, working with kids with autism.  This particular Friday night, he was taking one of the boys (Christopher) to the movies.  He was teaching life skills--how to use your money to pay for things you want, etc., to this 15 year old boy.  Christopher had decided he wanted to buy candy, not popcorn for his movie, and Andy was taking him to the grocery store to buy his candy, before going to the movie theater down the street to watch their movie.

(This past week, my family went up to Eureka so that my sister-in-law and I could meet with the DA who is acting on Andy's behalf.  We learned more details about this case, some of which I will share here.  If not for my own cathartic needs, for your curiosity.)

From about 5:30 pm to 6 pm that night, two men (John and James) went on a robbing spree, robbing six other people at knife point.  They got a total of $3 from their victims, most of whom got away.  While looking for more victims, they saw Andy and Christopher get out of Andy's car in the grocery store parking lot.  They approached Andy, telling him to give up his money.  I believe Andy wanted to protect this boy who was in his care, and he refused to let this man get past him.  A fight between Andy and James (John was in the vehicle waiting) ensued while Christopher hid behind a car and watched.  Andy was stabbed multiple times (about 13), and had defensive stab wounds on his right hand, indicating he was trying to keep the knife away from him.  The man who stabbed him stabbed one fatal blow to his lower left ventricle in his heart.  The detective told me that according to the coroner, even if that stab had happened on the bed in the Emergency room, with doctors all around him, there was no way to save a person at that point.  The only way would have been if these people had chosen not to do this.  I only wish.

After these men fled, they drove about 20 minutes south, to John's brother-in-law's mobile home. On their way, they were driving very dangerously, as they were inebriated and intoxicated.  Multiple people witnessed their vehicle, and called the police to report them.  One person saw them park at brother-in-law's house after hitting a curb.  He took down their license plate number, and called the police.  Since multiple robbery victims, and witnesses, had confirmed the license plate number, they knew these were their guys.  The police arrived shortly thereafter, and arrested all three men, not knowing that the brother-in-law wasn't involved.  He was later released.  

There is a gag order on this case, so it has occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn't share all the information on the internet that the lawyers and detectives shared with us, but I will say that there is a ton of evidence against these men.  From witnesses, to DNA evidence.  There was even another man with autism in the parking lot who witnessed the fight between Andy and James, and gave a description of James to the investigator, down to the shoelaces he was wearing!  Reminds me of Rainman, and I'm thankful for this man's stunning memory. 

The men who did this have entered a plea bargain, and that is also something we discussed with the lawyers.  While I don't know if I would ever feel that any penalty is enough for these men (unless they are able to give me back my brother), there are confines within our legal system that we must work within.  The highest sentence that James (the killer) could get (with a first degree murder conviction) is Life in Prison Without Parole.  He is offering 25 years to life, meaning he wouldn't be eligible for parole until he serves at least 25 years.  Even then, he may never get out, but there is that possibility in 25 years.  Unless we go to a trial, and leave this up to a jury (where anything could happen, even with excellent evidence), he will not get Life in Prison Without Parole.  That is the hard part, but according to the lawyers, 25 to Life is still "pretty good"

The other guy, John, is pleaing guilty to all the robbery counts, is not pleaing First Degree Murder, but rather Manslaughter.  His plea is to serve 19 years, at 85% (meaning he is eligible for parole after serving about 15 years).  So, if he is good, he could be out in 15 years.  This is the guy who has a wife and kids, even more victims in this heinous act.  It just breaks my heart for all involved.  Except maybe for James and John.  I have little sympathy for them.  My sister-in-law and I discussed our preferences in regards to the plea bargain with the attorneys.  It is their decision ultimately, and they are determining what they will do.

And finally, some thoughts.  I know as a Christian, that God calls me to forgive these men.  To be honest though, I am having a hard time doing it.  I want to.  I really, really want to.  But I'm just so sad, mad, and hurt for all these hurting people that were affected, that I just can't find it in me to forgive them.  Not yet.  I know that forgiveness is really for me, not for them, and I don't want to live with bitterness or anger in my heart.  It will affect me if I do.  Like a yucky cancer eating away at my spirit.  I don't want that.  But I'm not there yet.  I can't let it go.  Maybe after more time has passed?  I hope so.  It still feels so raw and new.  I feel like it's only been a few weeks since I was woken up in the middle of the night by my little brother calling to tell me that our big brother had just been murdered.  I had a two week old baby, and was feeling foggy to begin with, but tried to process the gravity of what was going on.  I still feel like I'm in shock.  I still think of him, and his last moments, and his poor kids, and his grieving wife, and that poor boy who watched him die  Part of me feels like it is my way to honor Andy---to not forget him, and maybe even to not stop feeling sad.  Perhaps there is a way I can honor him without holding on to the sadness over the manner of his death.  Maybe I'll get there.  Maybe I'll get a tattoo to memorialize him.  I don't know. 

Sometimes I wish, if he had to die, that he would have died of cancer.  That would have been so much easier to deal with.  The whole murder aspect of Andy's death just throws a wrench in the healing process for me, and I'm sure others too. It just feels so unfair.  So unnecessary.  So humanly chosen rather than divinely chosen.  I know God knows the number of our days, and He knew long ago that Andy would only spend 36 years on this earth, but it just gets me that some other human being decided when, where, and how he would die.  And it's not just Andy who was affected.  There are two teenage boys without a dad who are grieving, a wife without her husband who doesn't know how to deal with her grief, two brothers and a sister who loved and miss their big brother, a mother and a father who outlived their child (which just seems so backward), a group home full of kids with autism who no longer have their counselor and mentor to guide them, aunts, uncles, in-laws, friends, neighbors...the list goes on and on.  Not to mention these poor kids whose dad is in jail for "murder".  I often wonder what they are going through.  It's all just so unfair.  As my nephew put it, "I just wish this didn't happen."  I just wish this didn't happen. 

Rest in peace, my big brother.  I love you.  I always will. 

Friday, November 6, 2009


Ok, so it's been a loooong time since I've blogged. Some of that is because 1) blogging stresses me out when I'm busy, and there are times when I just have to put it at the bottom of the priority list, and 2) I was spending every spare moment getting my new business up and running.

"What new business is this", you ask? I have been working on opening a Music Together center in my area. When I moved here last summer, and began looking for infant/toddler programs to take my kiddos to, I realized there was NOTHING to offer. So, I decided to bring it, and figured I would also benefit from drawing like-minded mamas to myself as potential friends. Well, after working on this for about three months, making a website (See the fruits of my labor here), spending lots of money, buying a whole lot of instruments, and doing some market research (should have done this part first), I realized that what I would need to charge to make up my costs (not even pay myself for my time), would be an amount that most people in this area could not afford. So, I've recently decided to put my plan on hold until either things change, or I find another way to operate that would not cost me so much money and unpaid time. So, here I am, back to the blog.

Another thing I've been doing is working on the homestead. We've prepared a large garden plot (about 30ft by 30ft), with raised beds and irrigation (photo below). We planted part of it a few weeks ago, and will plant more seeds this weekend. We've learned to spread out our planting so that things ripen at different times. If it all ripened at once, I might not be able to manage preserving/consuming it at that time. So, we will spread out the planting. We already have little saplings from the lettuces we planted! It's so fun to see them growing in their little row. I'm hoping the other things sprout up soon....I think their germination terms are longer, and that is why we aren't seeing them yet. At least I'm hoping that's why. It's the blind leading the blind around here when it comes to gardening. For all I know, we've killed things already! Here's the part of the plot that we will begin planting this weekend.

The chickens are doing well. We're down to 13 chickens, after once having 17. We ate two, and have lost three to predators. They keep getting out of the pen, and we keep trying different means of keeping them in, but are apparently not doing it correctly. At this point, we've clipped their wings, added more chicken wire, and put netting over the top of the pen. But they are figuring out how to get around the netting. Just yesterday, they were roosting in the oak tree above the pen. I couldn't believe it when I saw them up there! I thought chickens were dumb. Well, they are pretty dumb, but in this case, they're impressing me with their intellect. Here's a pic of the chickens. You can see that big branch over the pen. That is where they keep flying up and roosting. Silly girls.

Our next endeavor will either be goats or pigs. While we are super excited about adding either of these animals to our little homestead, we have learned with the chickens, that more mouths to feed costs money! And both goats and pigs eat a LOT! So, our plan is to start planting food that they would eat, build their shelters, feeders, and milking station (if it's goats), and then get the animals. We don't want to be eaten out of house and home, and are we really living sustainably if we are having to go out and buy their food? We should be growing it, so that is where we will start. Part of me just really wants to go out and buy a bunch of feed, and get the animals now, but I know that in the long run, it will be so much better if we can grow their food. And better for them too....we'll know exactly what is in their food, and thus our food, since we'll be eating their meat/dairy products/eggs.

And finally, I'm trying to learn what to do with all this stuff once it is grown so that we can maximize the benefit of all our hard work. Preserving is the way we've decided to go. I've purchased all the canning equipment I need, and lots of canning jars. A few weeks back, my girlfriend Joanna and I canned peaches. We used a recipe from the Ball Canning Cookbook that I have that included honey, cinnamon, all spice, and cloves. All I have to say is "yuuuuuuuum!" The peaches turned out sooo good. Now we just need to try to not eat it all afterwards so that we can have some later in the year to enjoy. Ok, we didn't eat all of them, but quite a few jars disappeared pretty quickly. The next thing I want to learn to do is tomatoes....stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, katsup, tomato juice. All those things I buy at Costco and use in my day-to-day cooking. I read recently that BPA has been found in many canned foods, and the aluminum I know is not good for us, so I really want to steer clear of using canned food from aluminum cans. But, I'm pretty sure I'll have to wait until next summer to do this, since tomatoes are hard to grow in the winter.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

Yesterday Hot Contractor decided it was time for our Rhode Island Red hen to go. She's one of the first two we got on Freecycle, and ever since we ate her abusive rooster rapist boyfriend, she has been on edge! She is very aggressive, and pecks anyone who comes near her. To her credit, I think she is lonely. All the other hens stay in groups by breed, and age. And she has no one to hang out with: the other girls ignore her. I've been there before, and it's not a good feeling. I guess I'd be pissy too.
Buuuut...Hot Contractor got pecked one too many times trying to get her in her coop, or to reach in and change her food or water. He had it. He was on a mission. While I took the kids to Wal-Mart, he did the deed. I came home, and everything was cleaned up, and she was in the pressure cooker. He even made some yummy chicken soup out of some old stock we had in the fridge, and some veggies that needed to be eaten. It was great!
I spent the afternoon organizing our stuff in the barn. I got rat-proof bins at Wal-Mart, and went through and organized maternity clothes, little boy clothes, and girl clothes. I hate keeping all this stuff, and feeling like such a pack rat, but we don't know if we're done having kids, so we kinda need to keep it all. At least now it's organized, and the rats won't nest in it.
Another thing we did yesterday was end our use of paper towels. I've been telling Hot Contractor that as soon as my Viva stash (I do LOVE Viva paper towels, by the way) runs out, I'm not buying anymore paper towels. And we ran out. So I stocked up on cheap rags at Wal-Mart, and we will reach for those now when there is something we would typically use paper for. I think it might be a little bit of an adjustment, but eventually, I doubt we'll miss using paper towels. One less thing to buy, and one step closer to drastically reducing the items I purchase for our household.
After the kids were down, Hot Contractor folded about six loads of laundry I had done, and I worked on my Amish Friendship Bread. I made banana bread with it, and it is yuuuumy! I think I'm going to take a break from it after this bread is gone though. It's a lot to keep up with, along with my kefir, kombucha, and wanting to start sprouting my grains. The bread is the least healthy, so I've decided it can go. I've frozen two starter I can give away, and one to pull out when I'm ready to do it again.
I also worked on my kombucha last night. The tea had been fermenting for five days, which I've learned is the key to yummy kombucha. I've thrown out all the other batches I've made because they tasted disgusting! Way too vinegary. It's because I was leaving it to ferment for like ten days! Five days is perfect. It tastes just as good as the yummy stuff I used to buy at Whole Foods. But better because I made it myself. (Everything is always better when you make it yourself, don't ya think?). I added some strawberries, and sealed my big gallon mason jar, and put it in the fridge for a few days so it can develop it's fizz. I can't wait to have it in a few days! I'm hopeful it will be a success!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bran, Flax, Zucchini Banana Muffins

This is a recipe I adapted from the back of a Bob's Red Mill package of flax seed meal.

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (or any type of flour...I've used soy, whole wheat, whatever you have)
3/4 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup oat bran. Once I didn't have oat bran, so I used oatmeal, and it was great. Other times, when I haven't had oat bran, I've added extra flour or flax seed meal to equal 3/4 cup.
1 cup brown sugar. I've used sucanat for this, and white sugar when I didn't have an alternative sweetener, or any brown sugar.
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

-Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl

-Add these ingredients to the bowl:

1 1/2 cups shredded/pureed veggie (zucchini, carrots, or squash...whatever you have around. I once mistakenly put in a cucumber instead of a zucchini, and that didn't taste so hot. Don't try it.)
2 cups pureed fruit (apple and banana are what I've used)
1/2 cup raisins (optional). I've also substituted this for chocolate chips.
1 cup nuts, chopped (I use walnuts)


-In a small bowl, combine:
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

-Pour liquid ingredients into large bowl with other ingredients
Stir until moistened. Do not over-mix.

-Fill muffin cups 3/4 full

-Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

-Yield 15 muffins

These muffins are SOOOOOO good, and so moist! And I eat them by the truckload because there's a lot of good stuff in them, and not much bad stuff (unless you put chocolate chips in). They will keep you nice and regular too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pledge. Oh How I Love Thee. Will I Ever Let You Go?

I've been looking for a recipe for homemade furniture polish for some time, and have not been satisfied with what I've found. I tried olive oil, and really liked how shiny everything was for a few days, and then everything seemed to have this yucky, dull film all over. But today I may have found what I've been looking for. Here's what you need:

•Lemon Juice
•Olive Oil
•An empty spray bottle
•An essential oil that smells clean and fresh to you. I used Sweet Orange. Whatever EO you choose, use it sparingly, or not at all if you are pregnant. And remember it is mixing with lemon juice, so pick something complementary.
This cleaning product goes bad in a few days, so you will want to make only what you will use today, and throw out whatever is left over. That's the one downside...I like to make my cleaning products in large quantities, and have them on hand. But let's go with it anyway.
Here's the recipe. I doubled it because I had a lot of dusting to do, but I think it was too much. I should have just started with the regular recipe:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 drops of essential oils
Pour it in, shake it up, spray it on, and wipe it off with a cloth. Easy schmeasy!
Now I may be able to let go of Pledge. She's been one commercial product I haven't been able to break up with. But I think she might be out the door now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Friendships

So, yesterday I got some Amish Friendship Bread Starter from a nice lady on Freecycle. I'm super excited to bake some bread with this stuff in three more days. I'm learning all about it via my new Freecycle friend. Apparently you have to follow strict guidelines (ok, not THAT strict) for ten days....stirring some days (but only with a wooden spoon, no metal can touch this stuff). Then on certain days, you add a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, and a cup of milk. And this stuff just grows and grows. I think it's like kefir and kombucha...a live culture thingy that grows and grows, and is really good bacteria for you. I haven't read that yet, it's still to be confirmed, but that's my feeling anyway. hmmmm....

So, once I have it, I'm supposed to give two new starters to two friends of mine. Since I just moved here, it made me think..."Do I have two friends?" And guess what? I do! Let me tell you about them. I'm super excited about them, actually. One girl I met at a BBQ our first weekend here. Her name's Joanna. She has two girls, 4 & 6. The Princess is as big as her four year old, as an aside. She passed down some clothes and shoes for me, and they were too small. heehee. But I digress...

So, Joanna is a therapist for girls who struggle with eating disorders. She's a super intentional mama, and is constantly learning how to be a better parent. I love it! We have soooo much to talk about....all the things we're reading about in our parenting books, etc. It helps that she has a similar parenting philosophy of gentle discipline, too.

Then, there's Rachael. She's older, loves Jesus, practices Attachment Parenting and Gentle Discipline with her kids, 10 &14. She also is totally into natural healing and eating. She and I have shared natural remedies with each other, kefir recipes, and more. It's been really fun getting to know her. I got hooked up with her when I asked Mark's aunt for a pediatrician recommendation who would be open to Attachment Parenting. Since she didn't know who to recommend, she connected me with Rachael, who recommended a total AP pediatrician! Woo-hoo!

And my third friend is Christina. I met her in the cry room at church two weeks ago. She heard me say that it was my first time at the church, and she invited me to dinner at their house (which we did last night). She has two boys, 11& 8, and a surprise one year old daughter. She parents a little differently than I do, but she and I connect in other ways. Today she and her kids came over and she helped me sew. She also took some pictures of Little Brother (she couldn't get over seeing the fattest baby she'd ever seen). She's a photographer too. Oh, and a sign language interpreter, which is fun, since we do sign language with The Princess. Her family is raising chickens, and her boys loved climbing in our new chicken pen, and coop (ooops...forgot to blog about that).

So, now that I've journaled (sorry for the long post!), it's time to go. Christina invited me to a girls night out movie night with her girlfriends tonight. Gotta run!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why we are doing this...

For the past nine days, Mark's aunt (Willene), cousin (Lauren), and her son (his second cousin?...Garrett) have been staying here with us, in his aunt's house. We also live here with his cousin, Jim. It's a full house!

Today, we set aside the day to have a family "pow wow" about our future, and our life together. We've always wanted to live simply, and get away from the rat race that is so prevalent in our culture. But why now? What prompted us to do it now? Well, we think that there are very hard times ahead for our country (and our world), and we want to poise ourselves to be in a position where we are not only able to survive, but to help others we love. It turns out that all of the family members filling our house also feel this way (we already knew that though), and it's so exciting to be on this adventure together!

All day long, we've been sitting around the dining room table, or lounging on the living room floor, as we talk about how, and when, and what we can do to prepare. We all shared tidbits of information that we've learned that will help us, or that reinforce our feelings about what is coming. It has been such an inspirational time of sharing scripture, and prayers, and also of coming together, and talking about living in community with each other.

I am so lucky to have married into this family!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Most Sparkly (and non-toxic) Toilet You've Ever Seen

My new favorite natural cleaning recipe: vinegar and baking soda for cleaning your toilet bowl. Not only are those store bought toilet bowl cleaners filled with horrible chemicals, but they're expensive too! I've been thinking there has got to be a better way to get rid of that lovely ring around the toilet bowl. I recently came across this recipe using these two ingredients I now consider staples around my house.

Here's how i did it:

1) flush the toilet and turn off the water when the water is out of the bowl, before it fills up. It's fine if there is some water in there, but you want to have less than a full bowl worth.

2) pour in a splash of vinegar. I used about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

3) pour some baking soda in there and watch it fizz with the vinegar.

4) take your toilet bowl brush and scrub the bowl out.

5) leave it for about 20 minutes before flushing and turning the water back on.

There you go! Easy shmeasy, and totally non-toxic! Not to mention CHEAP! Now you can enjoy your sparkly clean toilet bowl. Have at it, ladies!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our First Egg

We got three more hens last night from some nice lady on Freecycle. These three are Buff Orphingtons, and they join our lone little Rhode Island Red, who lost her mate, the rooster, to our chicken soup for tonight's dinner. They've been figuring out their pecking order all day long. Blood has been drawn, and chickens can be found pacing back and forth in the coop, as they decide who is where in the order.
So, we got our first egg today! One of the new ladies left it in the nesting box this morning. I took The Princess down to get it out this afternoon, when she woke up from her nap. I let her hold the egg, knowing full well that it might not make it to the house alive. It didn't. It ended up all over both of us while The Princess cried from the fall she took while trying to walk up the rocky path oh-so-carefully. It was a memorable first egg. There will be more tomorrow! (hopefully).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here goes...

So, I've thought about blogging for a loooong time. Why haven't I done it? Partly because I don't know where in the world I will find the time. But partly because I'm a little afraid that nobody will want to read it, or that I'm not a good enough writer. But I've decided that I want to chronicle my kids' childhoods, to document our adventures in learning to homestead, and that I need to make the time because these reasons are important enough to do so. And if people read it, great. If they don't, then, well, that's great too.