Thursday, March 21, 2013

Furniture Polish

  • 2 T. beeswax (I use beeswax pellets as it melts easily and quickly)
  • 7 T. olive oil
~Melt in a double boiler (I don't have a double boiler so I use a stainless steel bowl that fits perfectly on one of my pots)
~Stir well. I was going to bring out my hand blender but found that a wire whisk did the job just fine. The polish will harden after an hour or two. 

I have several notebooks around the house filled with Bible verses, blog ideas and recipes. Unfortunately it takes me hours (this may be an exaggeration... or maybe not) of first finding my many notebooks (I have many "hiding" places) and then paging through the notebooks. So I've learned a trick to remembering the recipes that I try - WRITE THE RECIPE ON THE LID/CONTAINER! Yeah, I'm a genius.

The Chicken Chick

Friday, March 15, 2013


It's FRIDAY! Time to sing and dance. Also time to join Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday. It's a fun party as many gather to write about one word. I always love to read the different views that people can bring to just one word. Our prompt word today is REST.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus speaks these words to the crowds:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Oh, we all know tired. The tired all the way to our weary feet. The tired that finds us asleep the moment our heads hit the pillow. I've always found the previous verse comforting, knowing that He will give me rest. The rest on the weekends found in a Sunday afternoon nap which will rejuvenate me for the week ahead. I've know this verse well but I'd never bothered to read the following..........

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Two important things here. LEARN FROM ME and REST FOR YOUR SOULS. Soul tired? Yes, I've been there and that's a whole different kind of tired. Soul tired, if allowed, can stir up bitterness and bad attitude. That's a place I find myself at times and it takes every last bit of energy that I have to pull myself out of that despair. Yet Jesus says, "Learn from me". At these, during all of my days, I must learn from Him. Keep my eyes on HIM! Draw near to Him. And in His presence I will find rest. Rest all the way to my soul.

"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Says the Man who knows that one day soon He will not only bare the weight of the cross but also the weight of my sins as he hangs on that cross. Yet His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That's the attitude I want to carry. 

MY yoke is easy. MY burden is light. All because of Jesus. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Safer All-Purpose Cleaner

When I began this blog two years ago, one of my goals was to share recipes and tips that were:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Better for the health of me and my family (and those in my daily care)
  • Frugal
Over the years I've done a fairly good job of ridding my home of products that are filled with harmful (for both the environment and my family) chemicals. But sometimes I let my guard down and those things that were formally banned from my home make their way through my door.

Last summer my daughter was in a car accident which meant that I stayed in the hospital with her during her three weeks of care. The day before we returned home, my sweet husband {although I don't approve of his cleaning supplies, I am so thankful for his thoughtfulness!} went to the store to buy cleaners so that he could do a quick clean up of the house for us. He didn't have a clue on how to use my homemade cleaners (besides he isn't quite on this bandwagon with me). So we "acquired"  bottles of 409, bleach, toilet cleaner and Windex. 

Over the months following the accident I no longer focused on my green and frugal adventures, nor did I continue to blog about such topics, as I was overwhelmed with catching up. After five weeks off of work, I was catching up on paying my bills, reading mail, and work had returned with a vengeance as the number of children that I care for in the summer time doubles. More kids, more piles of toys, more piles of neglected paperwork......I really didn't care if I was using Windex or vinegar on my windows. But guess what? I'm back and I'm ready to tackle my previous endeavor of providing for my family and my home with products that are safe, green and frugal!

Being frugally minded I resisted the urge to throw these products away (besides what if I left home for any length of time? Hubs may decide to clean the house again!) The bleach, my least favorite of the bunch, didn't last long only because I had no problems tossing that one. The Windex is half gone (probably would have been used up faster but I usually use my own cleaner when I have the kiddos working with me). 

The 409, despite my feelings towards the chemicals it contains, has actually become a favorite of mine for getting gunk off the dining room table (serving  20 snacks/meals per week to a group of kids under the age of five can leave the table kinda of "gunky"...they are not the neatest eaters.) So today, as I scrubbed the gunk, I realized that my bottle of 409 was almost empty! Light bulb moment here as I realized that I could fill the 409 bottle with my own cleaner and no one (hubs) would even know the difference! :)

I'm not sure what is in Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner. The only ingredient listed is so small that my old eyes can't quite make it out but I am able to see that it's so long that I'm not able to pronounce it. Oh, here, if I squint and tilt my head..........well, I guess I need to be a chemist in order to decipher. 

On the back of the bottle however is this:
Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Avoid contact with foods.

The warning says it all - DON'T USE! One of my tests that I use to determine if I should be using a cleaning product is whether it makes me sneeze (you know the ones that burn your nose hair?), or if the product makes my skin or eyes hurt/itch. So the above warning clearly tells me that 409 is not a product that I want to be using and will not be allowed in my house. 

Homemade 409 All-Purpose Cleaner

2 tsp Borax
1 tsp Washing Soda 
1/2 cup white vinegar (I used the "orange vinegar" that I brewed up a couple of months ago)
2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp dish soap 

I also added 10 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil (germ killer and air purifier)

The Chicken Chick

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mysterious Eye Rash

Three weeks ago I developed a mysterious rash on my upper eye lid. Nothing had changed in my "beauty regime" (this makes me laugh as I don't wear make up or have a long list of products that I use!). I wash my hair with a diluted liquid castile soap and I use a natural face moisturizer  Yep, that's it. See why I laughed at "beauty regime"? I hadn't changed laundry detergent.

ML Daily DetoxThe only change in my routine was my diet. I had eliminated coffee, carbs and sugar. I was also taking Maximized Living's Daily Detox. I naturally came to the conclusion that the rash could be a result of toxins leaving my body. I began to search for evidence to support this notion. Although I found a few articles that supported this, most were vague and flimsy in their support. This article from Livestrong was the best I found but it gave me no solution for my problem.

I started eating parsley and making detox tea in hopes to speed up the detox process and thus heal my skin however the rash has gotten worse instead of better. I have added coffee, sugar and carbs back into my diet but only in limited amounts (I've gone from drinking 1-2 pots of coffee a day to 1-2 cups!).  I also find myself rubbing my eyes. A LOT, which doesn't help.

Last weekend I was reading about the benefits of combining honey and cinnamon for acne and other skin ailments. I made a paste using 1 part cinnamon to 2 parts honey and applied it to the red skin that was furthest from my eye (I avoided the rash that is nearest the eye, just next to my eyelashes, as the thought of cinnamon stinging my eyeball sounded very unpleasant). This paste seemed to sooth the rash but it was a bit sticky.

Next experiment involved squeezing Vitamin E out of a capsule and applying it around my eyes. This too was soothing yet sticky. The stickiness caused me to rub my eyes even more. Despite my rubbing, the Vitamin E seemed to help. My solution was to mix in a little jojoba oil and olive oil.
1 tsp. jojoba oil
1/2 tsp. olive oil
9 Vitamin E capsules (with "juice" squeezed out)

I've applied this oil several time throughout the day. After three days of using my new "skin oil" the rash seems to have lessened. The skin is still red and burns a little but it has improved. In my research I also learned that Vitamin E is beneficial for:
  • Cold sores
  • Wrinkles and dry skin (guess I'll add this to my "beauty regime"!)
  • Reducing scars and stretch marks
  • Minor sunburns

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Liebster Award

Sweet AJ from One Part Joy One Part Circus (I love her blog's name) has awarded me with the "Liebster Award". This award is given by bloggers to other bloggers. It is a way to spread the "news" of other small blogs. It is also a fun way to get to know one another in this great big bloggy world. :) 
Here's how it works ~ 

1. Answer 11 questions from the nominating blog.
2. Tell 9 things about you.
3. Nominate 7 bloggers who have less than 200 followers and ask those bloggers 11 questions  {Don’t forget to tell the new bloggers you have nominated them!}
4. You must follow those 7 bloggers you nominate... just to share the bloggy love. 
5. If you are nominated and choose to play along, please let me know in the comments so that I can see your answers and get to know you! It's all about building community.
Questions from AJ for me ~

1. Do you have a favorite Bible verse or quote?  What is it?

Jermiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
 WOW! Thank you, Lord! Thank you for having my back. I know that I can count on you to get me through anything that comes my way. In you I have HOPE!

2. What was your favorite television show from your childhood?

Hmm...."Gilligan's Island", "Charlie's Angels"(I always wanted to be Farrah Fawcett. She had great hair!), or maybe "The Dukes of Hazard". Then there's "Little House on the Prairie", "Hogan's Heros" and "M*A*S*H".  I don't think I can pick just one. :)

3. If you had/have a daughter would you ever let her participate in a beauty contest?  Why or why not?

No. I believe that beauty contests gives a message that outer beauty is far more important than inner beauty. 

1 Peter 3:3-4  Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

4. What is one of your pet peeves?

Being corrected. Even when I'm wrong. I know, it's something I'm working on.

5. Favorite blog and/or link up??  
My favorite link up is Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's
My favorite blog....oh, I have too many of them to list! However, Ann Voskamp's, A Holy Experience, always moves me.

6. What is one recipe you learned to make in the last year?

Today I FINALLY made my friend's recipe for shortbread cookies! I've been drooling over Sarah's cookies for years.....I don't know why I waited so long. 

7. What is one strange habit you have?

Let me ask my husband. 

He says I don't have any and since I'm working on not being right all the time (see #4) I better not disagree. 

8. Where is one place you would visit if cost was no object?

A trip around the WORLD! (is that one place?) It depends on who I can take with me. 
        Solo trip? I'm thinking a Bali vacation house much like the one in the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". Solitude with a stack of good books and a journal. Sounds wonderful! 
With my husband? Ireland
With my darling daughter? Definitely Paris!
With my dear boy? Somewhere adventurous such as Machu Picchu, African safari or the Amazon.

9. What is something you want to learn to make or do??

Quilt, speak a foreign language and knit something more complicated than a scarf.

10. Beach or Mountains?

Both. Really how can you choose? Majestic mountains or the sound of water hitting the sandy beach......both sound divine!

11. Coffee or tea?

Both. I LOVE coffee but I also like a good cup of tea (Good Harvest Sweet and Spicy or Chai Tea are my all time favorites). 

9 Things About Me

1. Music moves me and I love a huge range of music. Anything between Mozart and Metallica. Really. Worship music at church brings me to tears and if I wasn't worried about embarrassing my husband I would either be on my knees or raising my hands. 

2. I was a munchkin in my Jr./Sr. High School Musical of "The Wizard of Oz". The only performance I was ever in but I loved it. 

3. I hate public speaking. My hands shake, my voice shakes and my ears turn red. I'm sure that I sound like an idiot. I'd never be able to play Dorothy. 

4. Once I was interviewed on the radio. Same effect.  Again, I am sure that I sounded like an idiot.

5. I don't like the feeling of "losing control" therefore downhill skiing is out of the question. Besides, I hate being cold and yes, I do live in Minnesota.

6. Roller coasters are a whole different thrill. If I'm strapped in and feel secure then bring on the corkscrews!

7. When I was a young teenager my dream was to own a huge farm house which I would fill with "discarded" children. I would make those children feel so loved and we'd live happily ever after. 

8. My dream more recently was to buy a hobby farm and have an old pick up truck to haul my produce to the farmer's market but somewhere in the last year that dream has began to dissipate as I'm learning to follow God's calling. Now all I can think about is holding orphans.

9.  I like to have a plan. Several years ago (before I met hubs) I took my kids on a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I had a binder filled with an itinerary, confirmation numbers and the addresses of the campgrounds and hotels that we would be staying at, maps, as well as a list of sites and restaurants in each section of the U.P. (I intended to see ALL of it). Not having a plan leaves me feeling a bit like I'm on ski's careening down a slippery slope with no control of what I may run into. 

My never-plan-for-anything-husband is helping me find a balance. I am also learning to put my faith in HIS plan (which leads us back to my favorite verse in Jeremiah). I'm excited to see what God has in store for me!

I am pleased to announce my nominations for the Liebster Award in no particular order.........
1. Little Patch of Heaven Homestead
2. Abiding Love, Abounding Grace
3. Free Time is Overrated 
4. Repurpose My Life
5. Beautiful Rubbish
6. Knitting Girl 
7. Hoot and Holler

My questions for my nominees: 

1. What brings you joy?
2. What drives you nuts (pet peeves)?

3. If you had one day with no kids/spouse/responsibilities and could do anything you wished, how would you spend your day?

4. Favorite book?
5. Since I'm moved by music, I want to know your favorite song. :)

6. What is one word that others would use to describe you?

7. What are you good at?
8. What do you wish you knew how to do?

9. Favorite dessert (because I'm all about food)?

10. Who is your hero?

11. What is your favorite household chore? (I'm chuckling a little here. I'm going to bet that no one says, "toilets"! ;) )

Please go visit my blogging friends that I've nominated - you may learn something new. :)