Friday, August 29, 2008

I should stop reading

It freaks me out.

Here's what I mean.

I've been on a bit of a quest to become more "green". And really, it's quite selfish. It's not that I'm a tree hugger or anything like that, I just want to make sure that I keep myself and my family as healthy as possible. Most of my crunchy adventures lately have all been to improve health. Well, this week I made the mistake of reading about 400 too many articles about plastic and all those nasty little chemicals that have been leaching into my food and *gasp* whatever is in Claire's sippy cup! So, now I''m on a mission to clear out my tupperware cabinet and replace it with glass containers, and find a stainless steel water bottle for myself and probably one for Claire too. One of the sites a came upon (and it's now in my Reader list as well), NatureMoms even has a great giveaway for a BPA free water bottle.
Browsing this site, I also came across this great recipe. Now Claire asks for her green smoothie every afternoon and I'm having no problems getting a little spinach into her. I altered it a bit to according to this and to fit my diet...

Blend 2 C water and @ 2 C spinach

Add 1 banana, 1 C frozen strawberries, 1 C mixed berries

1-2 Tbsp flax oil

And there you go, I yummy way to get veggies into the kiddos!

Really, you can't taste the spinach at all...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Mail Sent

I sent off my happy mail last week and Erin has received it! If you can't tell, she likes red. Along with the market bag I sent cute little red fish salt & pepper shakers and a box of Organic Strawberry tea. Now I'm looking forward to getting my happy mail!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Very Full Week

Watched Kristian while Summer went to Roaring Springs with all the rest of her boys. He was so good and so much fun, and I couldn't resist snapping a couple photos of him cause he's just so cute.
Claire has some sharing issues to deal with...

Went to the Fair with Andrea and Ethan. We didn't plan very well and showed up about an hour before the gates opened so we made a quick trip to Starbucks (yeah for green tea!), and took the kids to a park to burn off a little energy before heading back to the fair. It was a quick, hot, sticky afternoon, but oh-so-fun!
Jeff had BBQ on the brain all day and decided that we should give Famous Dave's a try. I was impressed, I had a BBQ chicken salad that was great, and Jeff really enjoyed the Texas Brisket.

Went to lunch at my mom's house. She shouldn't be out and about too often, so my grandparents, Claire and I met at her house for some yummy Whitewater sandwiches.

Playdate at the park with so many of my favorite people. Amanda, Andrea, Andrea, Kelly, Summer and all the kids.
After a "no-nap" we went to Monkey Dooz and got Claire's hair cut. I did opt for bangs and an A-line cut. It's pretty cute, but it still gets in her face. She was pretty excited to sit in the Barbie car, eat a watermelon Tootsie Pop, and have her hair sprayed with sparkles.
Here's a preview of her "before" hair... on a bad day...

Fuddruckers for dinner. We ate out A LOT this week, but I'm proud to say that my cheeseburger was my only "cheat" meal.

Great BobyPump workout! Hanging out at home for the morning. Back to the fair and met my parents. Claire had a great time (again).

Checking out the bunnies

Um, he's just cute...


This is almost better than the carnival

Papa's Hat

Feeding the Sheep

Feeding the Goat

Can I ride, please?

Papa gives in

So does mommy
Some cotton candy to ease the pain of leaving the carnival

One tired girl

Lunch at Blue Sky Bagel making plans for an upcoming sewing-bee. Shopping at Best Buy so that we could set up Jeff's new toy. I was a little skeptical at first, but after thoroughly checking it out I'm pretty excited about it. And dinner at Cheesecake Factory (I told you we ate out a lot this week, but I did have a GC for this meal).

Watched Elijah the whole day. Watched Ethan in the morning. Watched my little punk (she was SO much better once Ethan got hear). Did the laundry. Had a quick little lunch date with Andrea. My parents came over for dinner and surprised Claire with her new favorite toy.

Cleaned the house. Worked out while Claire napped. Looking forward to a shower. Looking forward to BUNKO (I think the ladies will appreciate the shower). Really looking forward to a few slow days!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Isn't that just the cutest? I discovered Renee & Jeremy yesterday while I was reading the latest edition of Small Magazine. I bought the music for Claire this morning and we already love it. We're off to try it for naptime...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Elijah and the Hat

Today was my first Monday watching Elijah. I was a little nervous about watching a baby all day and keeping up with Claire, but we had a great day. He was about as perfect as a baby can be and Claire was about as perfect as a toddler can possibly be (only a few fits).
Andrea recently requested a hat for Ethan. This is the one she wanted.

And this was what I was able to come up with.

I didn't have an exact pattern so I had to make it up a bit. And of course, seeing how well it fits Elijah, I obviously didn't quit make the size I was aiming for. I did follow part of a pattern that suggested this size for a 5 year old. Apparently my stitches are a tad tighter than average. Oh well, after a fitting this week I'll make a new one up for Ethan and I'll try to post a picture of the finished product for you.

Quick Update

Thanks for your prayers!

Steven is home again and recovering from his scary allergic reaction.

My mom is also home and recuperating. Her surgery went really well, by the time I went to see her that evening she had been up and walking around several times and was eating dinner. At home she's been able to scale back on her pain meds and last night she actually got some good sleep. She still has a three month recovery ahead of her, but knowing she is doing so well already makes us confident she'll get there easily.

Friday, August 15, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Scratch that.

And the winners are Andrea and Jessie!

You see, Andrea really was the closest, it is a Market Bag. But since she pointed out that Jessie was pretty close, and it really could be a purse too, and she was the first to comment, we've got two winners. So girls, here's the deal. I also made this super-cute green bag this week. It's super stretchy and can hold a lot.

So, e-mail me with the style you'd like, give me some color guide lines, and I'll whip 'em up. And if anybody else would like one too, just let me know, I'd be happy to make you one for a super deal.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up on my afghan, it's just such a winter type of project.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prayers Please

I am so blessed to have friends and family that I know will pray for me in a heartbeat. So I'm calling on you all to say a few for my family as well.

My mom will be having surgery tomorrow. She'll be having a few of her cervical spine vertebrate fused. It's a pretty routine procedure, but nonetheless, a little bit scary. So please remember her tomorrow.

My cousin, Steven, has had a severe allergic reaction to poison oak and is in the hospital. I'm not sure of all the details, but I know he could sure use your prayers as well.

Thanks, you're the best!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

20 Minutes to Pickles

Today we made pickles. Yum! If you like pickles you should really check out this recipe. And seriously, you've got homemade pickles in a little over 20 minutes.

I didn't have dill seed so I just used dill weed. I didn't have mustard seed either, so I just used about 1/4 tsp of ground mustard. They still tasted just like my mom's.

And here's a sweet pickle with peanut butter...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finishing Touch

Here is the last little bit I needed to finish my Happy Mail project. And because I have never done a contest, here it is...

The first person to guess, or the closest guess to, what the project is will win a custom made "project" of their own. Your odds are good, I only have a few readers.

Entries are due by Friday.

Happy guessing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nice Little Weekend

What a nice little weekend. Even though Jeff had to work, it turned out pleasant.

*HOT! But had a nice dip in the pool with Megan and Elijah.

*Managed to avoid these menacing, but beautiful, clouds on the way home.

*Had my "cheat" meal at Applebee's. I love the Oriental Chicken Roll-Up. And topped the evening off with a long overdue margarita. YUM!


*Vowed not drink margarita's just before bedtime ever again. I had a terrible time getting to sleep.

*Still managed to drag my butt to the gym and thoroughly enjoyed my Body Pump class.

*Did a little shopping during Claire's nap and found the perfect new "house shoes" since my fuzzy pink slippers are a little worn.

*I also got some cute shoes for Claire for fall and a couple items for Happy Mail Swap.

*Enjoyed my overgrown but oh-so-delicious garden.

*Spent far to many hours on my Happy Mail Swap project. Here's a sneak peek.


*More hours on the project.

*Visited Grandma and Grandpa Hendrix. We checked the progress on our Halloween pumpkins. They're so round and big already. I almost can't wait for fall!

*Claire came down with a cold. I had to spend a bit of time rocking and cuddling her just before I went to bed and again at about 3:30 in the morning. Since it's been nearly two years since I've had to get up with her in the middle of the night I actually enjoyed the extra cuddles.

Here's to a nice week to follow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

The homemade hair care may not have been a total success, but I am still in love with all my homemade cleaners, and this last endeavor has been success so far as well. I made laundry detergent last week and so far I really like it. It was cheap and easy and seems to clean just as well as anything else I've ever used.

Homemade Laundry Detergent:

1 Bar of Fels-Naptha, grated

1 Cup of Washing Soda
1 Cup of Borax
Mix together. That's it.

Just use 1-2 TBSP per load of laundry. So far I've only used about one and been happy with the results.
And in place of fabric softener just use 1/4 Cup of White Vinegar. I washed all of our bedding yesterday and it came out just as fresh smelling and soft as ever. If you'd like a bit of smellies you can just add a few drops of essential oils to the vinegar. And if you have sensitive skin this should be fine, but if your hesitant you could use pure castille soap instead of the Fels-Naptha.

If you decide to try it let me know.

I fell off the wagon

That is, the no-poo wagon. Well, not completely, I still have one leg on, but I'm not on for the long haul. I gave it a good try, but after yesterday, I decided I couldn't give it another three weeks at a fair try. Really, my hair was looking great, it was really clean. It just didn't feel like I wanted it too. It felt kind of dry and I've never had dry hair, so it was really bugging me. Of course, I figured the answer would be a nice deep conditioning treatment. So I found a good homemade recipe and gave it a try. When I got out of the shower, my hair combed out so nice, it felt smooth and conditioned and I was sure this was the going to be a good hair day. I had a lot to do, so instead of letting it air dry, I decided to blow-dry. So, I blowed, and blowed, and blowed, but no drying was happening. Then I discovered that my hair was not wet, but GREASY! Gross! Well, it wasn't totally gross, it didn't smell bad, and even as greasy as it was, it still felt clean, not greasy like going 10 days without washing. Apparently I had over-conditioned. As I was closely inspecting my hair in the mirror I also kept finding white flakes. How could my hair possibly have flakes with as "moist" as it was? The answer: They weren't flakes, they were little pieces of egg. See, the conditioner had eggs in it. Either the water in the shower was too hot and cooked the eggs, or I didn't get it completely rinsed out and just fried up a little egg while blowdrying. Either way, it was nasty. I didn't really want to use the baking soda again just to go back to where I had started that morning, so I decided a quick trip to the store for some emergency shampoo was in order. I pulled back my greasy hair (I'm not sure I even needed a hair band, it might have just stayed where I combed it all on it's own), grabbed Claire, and flew out the door. I realized when we got to the store, in all my distress, I had forgotten make-up as well. Needless to say, if you had seen me at the store you would have had to follow through with the obligation to tell me I looked like a greasy hippie.
I didn't want to go back to the regular old shampoo with all the nasty chemicals in it, so I found some by Avalon Organics. It's yummy and my hair loves it. After doing a little more reading, I've decided the reason my hair wasn't taking the baking soda washing so well is because we have hard water. I think with soft water it would have done much better. I'm not disciplined enough to haul purified water into the shower with me every morning, so, when we get a water softener one day I'll definitely try it again. For now, I'll stick with my new shampoo and use the baking soda wash occasionally for a good clarifying treatment.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Poo Free

Yep, that's right, I'm going Poo Free, well at least I'm going to give it a try. It's not what you think, I'm not giving up "pooing" as I will still be taking my much needed visits to the ladies room, I'm going shampoo free. As you'll remember, I switched over to homemade cleaning products, and somehow, in the process of all my research, I came across this intriguing article. What, no shampoo?!? This is really out there for someone who absolutely loves the way a good lather feels. But, the idea of being able to get rid of my perpetually greasy hair (and not have to spend hours in the shampoo aisle deciding whether to choose by the cute bottle or the yummy smell) was appealing to me. Besides, do you know how cheap baking soda is?

Day 1:
Before shower: I'm a little nervous. I've woken up with the typical greasy head feel and I'm not quite sure I'm willing to give up my lather. But, I haven't decided against shower gel yet, so I'll get my lather fix one way or another... here goes.
During Shower: So far, so good. I didn't really feel I was accomplishing much and was afraid Jeff might comment on the smell of vinegar wafting from the shower, but my hair does have a bit of squeak to it, so it can't be to bad.
After shower: After drying and styling it looks pretty normal, no tropical island scent, but nothing bad either, and it doesn't feel greasy. So far, so good. And wouldn't you know it, during my playdate at Kelly's house she says, "Did you do something different to your hair, it looks good." Well, well, something about it must be working!
The Verdict: I'm going to give it an honest try. At least a month. According to the article, there may be an "de-tox" period of greasiness during the transition to no-poo, but if I can persevere, I just may be quitting my shampoo habit altogether. But next time you see me, be honest, if I look or smell like a dirty hippie you are obligated to let me know.