Friday, August 31, 2012

Father Rabbit

This site is so great. Girls, go check it out. (Boys, you can go too but it probably won't interest you that much.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today

Yesterday we went to Magazine to clean and reorganize the school house. Every Wednesday during the school year, a small group of us locals meet and have extra curricular classes. This year some of the classes include music, a Montessori class, Zoology and a Little House on the Prairie class. I think this one is going to be super fun. They are reading Little House on the Prairie and they will do activities with each chapter. I think in the first class they are going to make a diorama of their cabin. I would have loved this class at their age. There is also a handwriting class and a letter learning class for the two youngest students.

Eily has croup. Nora has a runny nose and a cranky disposition. Elaina has an ulcer on her bottom lip. Claire has new glasses. Jason has a lot of emails to answer. I have laundry to fold and kids to love on and hug. It's not a perfect day, but on the other hand, it's a pretty perfect day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coffee

I woke up with a tad more vim and vigor this morning which is surprising since I was up from 3:00 to 4:30. That means that tomorrow I'll be back to a dead lump but let's just take one day at a time, shall we? Jason came home last night (part of the reason I was up in the middle of the night. Eily, her cheese sticks and her many ailments was the other part.) It feels nice to have everyone back in their places for a change. Real nice.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm sorry

I'm sorry that I have no energy to write a post with deep thoughts.

I'm sorry I'm so tired.

I'm sorry it's taking all that's in me just to get through the basic chores of each day.

I'm sorry the blog is having to take a back seat.

I'm sorry that my breath always stinks due to mouth sores from my TMJ appliance.

I'm sorry that my house is still for sale. (This one is to myself.)

I'm sorry that I didn't fold my one load of laundry today. (Also to myself)

I'm sorry.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time is flying by.

I really want to write a post about Part 3 of Volume One but my goodness, it has been so hard for me to find a time to sit and type more than a few sentences. This homeschooling business is tiring. I am ready for bed as soon as the girls go down and since Jason is gone, there's not really a good reason to stay up longer. I'm hoping this weekend I can actually sit down and get a few posts written but I'll have company so we'll just have to wait and see. I hope you are all having excellent an week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nadia Danielle Sacran

Born on August 18th
6lbs 0oz
18 3/4 inches long
Will be half grown before I get to see her. :(

I'm loving having a new family member every few days or so.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday

School has started. The first day was pretty rough, the next day was better and today has been perfectly lovely. This may be due to the fact that Nora took a morning nap. As in all morning. As in no interruptions.
You may all think I'm crazy but I accepted a babysitting job that starts next week. The child is a little three year-old boy named Jager. (Not pronounced as in "he's got the moves like Jagger.) Today I got a text asking me if I wanted to babysit twin three year-old boys on Fridays. I said, "Sign 'em up! Let's go!"  No one ever said doing your part was easy. Both of the mothers are teachers so at least their schedule will be easy to work with. And I'm optimistic because three year-old children take naps. Well, mine never did, but I hear that's what normal kids do.  Right? Right? Right?

On a completely un-related note, I got to hold two relatives that were born last week. I'm off to try convince Jason to reverse his vasectomy. Have a happy Wednesday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Elsie Violet Moseley

Her mama let me watch.
Birth is amazing.
Baby is tiny.
Labor was quick and natural.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This week on...

If there was a reality show about my little family, what would it be called? Jason's suggestions were Estrogen 101, Outnumbered and House of Estrogen. I think I'm seeing a trend here.

Winner gets a $6 gift card to Star Wash!



Nora sang a few songs before she got the fever virus.


Mama shook Nora's chin.


Eily made up a song,


and then another.

Don't miss next week's episode where Mama and Daddy redo the main bathroom. It's sure to be a thriller!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Baby wishes

We have had a little fever virus make its rounds at our house this week. Eily has been so, so upset because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't produce a fever. The girl loves to be petted and pampered. Late yesterday afternoon, much to her delight, I told her that she did indeed have a fever. You should have seen the smile that spread across her face. She ran back to my bed, beaming all the way, and jumped under the covers while stating her list of needs and wants.
People, let me tell you, be careful what you wish for. The poor little girl threw up all night long.
Right before the first wave of sickness hit her, she called me back to my room and said, "Mama, I changed my mind. I've decided I don't like anything ever again." And then she...

I love the picture below for so many reasons. I love the way her head looks like a bobblehead. I love the pucker of her mouth. I love that I know why she was posing that way; she was showing off her newly painted cheek. I love that I can look at the photo and hear her little voice saying, "Does it look pretty, Mama?"

Poor Pee Wee. She's been rather pitiful the last 24 hours.

Monday, August 06, 2012

I love this picture more than I know how to say.

Hibiscus

I promise I'm not trying to bombard your health. For those interested, this little clip is very informative on the benefits of Hibiscus and how it builds up your immune system. This evening, I made the recipe he talks about at the end of the video and tomorrow the girls and I will try it out. I couldn't find the Wild Berry Zinger tea so instead I used Tazo Passion tea.


Listen Up! Part 2



Any time you eliminate the middle man (the manufacturer) and just buy ingredients, your costs go down. Almost all of these ideas eliminate a product that costs more than the ingredients. They all eliminate toxins. In the cases where I do spend more money for a non-toxic product, I tell myself: “you are paying for a reduction of your cancer risk. You are paying for a reduction of the toxins in your bloodstream and liver. You are paying for a healthier endocrine system and a lower chance of infertility. You are paying for cleaner air in your home. You are paying for the future health of your babies. You are paying for fewer chemicals leaching into the groundwater you drink and bathe in.” 
If you own these ingredients, you can clean almost anything toxin-free:
  • Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. I love this stuff. It’s gentle, it works, it’s all-natural and fair-trade and comes in several good scents. A bottle of it will feel expensive, but it’s super concentrated and you can use it for practically everything: bathing, mopping, you name it. My current bottle cost $9, but it’s lasted over a year of weekly housecleaning. Don’t be scared of the hippie mumbo-jumbo all over the label (secretly, I kind of love it).
  • Vinegar— disinfects like crazy. I scrub my sink with it, especially after handling raw meat.
  • Baking Soda— a gentle abrasive and surfactant, good for scrubbing sinks, pans, tubs, etc.
  • A couple of essential oils you really like. I’m fond of Tea Tree, for its clean smell and antifungal/antibacterial properties. 
  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
Dishwashing Soap: I like Earth Friendly. It’s cheaper than most natural cleaning brands and has 3 ingredients. Look for soaps that are pthalate-free and use a safer version of Sodium Lauryth Sulfate derived from coconut oil. They won’t lather as well as ‘normal’ soaps, but that’s because they don’t have the bad stuff. And anyway, the only point of lather is to make you feel like you’re really getting stuff clean. If soap is in the water, it’s doing its job whether you see lather or not. 
All-Purpose Cleaning Spray:
  • spray bottle— just save the next one you empty
  • a glug of vinegar— 2 Tbs. if you want to be exact
  • a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s or other natural soap— about 2 tsp.
  • a few drops of essential oil, if you like (it masks the vinegar smell). I use tea tree for disinfecting.
Just put this stuff in the spray bottle, fill the rest of the way with water, and shake it up. Ta-dah. It’s so super cheap, and I use it for literally everything— bathroom and kitchen countertops, toilets, sinks, and on brooms and dust rags. Shake it before you use it.
You may not feel like it’s getting stuff clean at first, but consider whether you’re basing this opinion on smell. We’re so conditioned to associate cleanliness with the smell of chemicals that if we don’t smell chemicals, we don’t think things are clean. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and we’ve never had problems. It’s effective because vinegar is a powerful disinfectant— it even kills e.coli. Dr. Bronner’s provides just enough surfactant to get stuff clean (a surfactant is an agent that makes stuff lathery and slippery; basically, it slips between molecules so they scrub off more easily).
Laundry Detergent: Homemade is super easy and so cheap. You’ll need
  • 1 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda) (this can all be found on the laundry aisle at most stores, but you may have to look carefully)
  • 3 empty and washed gallon milk jugs
Grate the soap into a large stock pot, add 8 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly so that the soap dissolves. Turn off heat, add Borax and Washing Soda, and stir. Let it cool. I recommend adding a few drops of essential oil here for scent. When cool, it may have gelled up or separated, so give it a stir and then split the mixture between the jugs and fill up the rest of the way with water. Pour slowly or it’ll foam up all over the place. Let the pot soak in hot water and wash and rinse it a couple of times before you cook in it again or your food may taste a bit soapy. 
I use about a third cup of this in my loads. f you have an HE, use less. It separates in the bottle, but a quick shake fixes that. I’ve been using this for about six months and I’m very happy with it— it takes ten minutes to make and it costs about 2 cents a load instead of crazy high store-bought prices. And it’s completely non-toxic. My only reservation is that I suspect it fades reds a little faster than store-bought.
For stain treatment, Washing Soda and Borax work just as well as most commercial products, and are literally cents on the dollar cheaper. As soon as possible after you stain something, soak it in a mixture of water and either Soda or Borax before you wash. I’m still experimenting with which one works better, but both work well. 
Toilets: At some point I realized that toilet bowl cleaner is just glorified disinfecting soap. I pour just a little Dr. Bronner’s around under the rim and scrub it and flush. Then I pour in a good glug of vinegar, scrub again, and let it sit for as long as possible. I clean the outside with the cleaning spray above. 
Showers: For really grimy showers, I adapted Bekah’s drain-cleaning method. First, I sprinkle baking soda over the tub, then I splash vinegar on it and let it fizz up and sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom, then scrub. Meanwhile, I boil a kettle of water. When it boils, I use it to rinse. It seriously works so well, but I only do all that when the shower is really dirty. If I’m cleaning it once a week like I mean to, it only takes a good scrubbing with Dr. Bronner’s. I’ve heard that a baking soda and vinegar paste is fantastic for scrubbing grout, but I’ve never tried it. 
Air fresheners: Most of them use chemical fragrances. I seriously don’t want to breathe that stuff. My mom taught me a clever (and free) alternative: just save back citrus rinds, apple peelings, leftover herbs, used tea bags, etc. and simmer them in a small pot of water over very low heat. My favorite combination is a sprig of rosemary, lemon rind, and a drop or two of vanilla. Also good is lemon balm and lime. For winter, leftover citrus or apple peels and cinnamon. Just plain lemon is nice too. It won’t be super strong, but it’s enough to freshen a smelly kitchen. 
Another option is to put a few sprigs of a fragrant herb in a small vase. I do this with rosemary in our bathroom and bedroom. You’d be surprised how effective it is in a small room, especially if you remember to squeeze the leaves every now and then to release the scent. 
Please, tell me your tricks and facts and recipes. There’s so much more to learn. 



Reposted, with permission from C.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

No matter how bad your day seems, just remember that someone out there has to clean the bathroom at Taco Bell.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Listen up! This is important!

My cousin-in-law posted this information on her blog and I was given permission to re-post it here. I feel it's important for us to know these things and then pass them on to others.



A couple of years ago, I started making a conscious effort to detoxify our cleaning and grooming routines. This was largely in response to a couple of blog posts on a blog I follow that described the infuriating carelessness about the ingredients in these products. Don’t be lulled into a sense of safety by the assurances of the FDA, y’all. They are on the side of big business, not the side of the consumer. Most of the time, they test a substance by exposing rats to high levels of it for a couple of weeks. If the rat doesn’t die or mutate freakishly, then it’s all cool. What they do not test is the effects of constant low doses of these substances over several years— the kind of exposure humans using the product actually get. Anytime you buy a product without thinking about the ingredients, you are in effect taking the word of the FDA and the manufacturer that those ingredients are safe.
It’s pretty obvious that infertility is a major problem for our generation. Just think about all the men and women you know who have struggled with it in some way. While infertility has obviously always been around, there’s been a lot of research done on how much more common it’s becoming. Even people who don’t technically have a problem have greatly reduced reproductive health compared to people a few generations back. What troubles me is how little you hear about the role of product use in this problem. Most conventional cleaning and beauty products contain known or suspected neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors (substances that either imitate hormones, block hormone receptors, or interfere with hormone production). This is serious stuff.
A major problem area is that sneaky little word ‘Fragrance’ on the ingredients list of most products. Did you know that companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that go into the ‘Fragrance’ of their products? They are considered a ‘trade secret’ and are only sketchily regulated. In practice, this means that anytime you see the word ‘Fragrance,’ what it stands for is a toxic cocktail of chemicals, many of which have not been sufficiently tested, many of which are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. The manufacturers do this because synthetic fragrances are way, way cheaper than natural ones. And even ‘Natural Fragrances’ are suspect— all that means is that the original source of the ingredient was natural, not the ingredient itself. And anyway, just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean we should rub it in our skin or spray it in our air every day. It doesn’t get more natural than poison ivy, after all.
A few easy ways to protect yourself:
  • Avoid Triclosan. It’s an antibacterial agent found in many soaps and toothpastes, and it’s a known endocrine disruptor. It’s pretty easy to find products that don’t have it. For instance, about half of Colgate’s toothpastes don’t have it. Just read the label.
  • Actually, avoid antibacterial products altogether. Antibacterial agents are not good for us, and the use of these products contributes to the rise of ‘super bacteria,’ which resist eradication much more effectively. Research has shown that good old soap and hot water is just as effective as antibacterial stuff anyway. It’s all a marketing ploy— the manufacturers want you to believe you aren’t safe unless you’re using their product.
  • Spend a dollar or two more on beauty products, dish soap, and bath soap and buy phthalate-free. Phthalates are also endocrine disruptors— even the FDA acknowledges this now, but they aren’t in a hurry to ban it. Phthalates are commonly hidden under the ‘Fragrance’ banner, so your product may contain it even if it’s not listed.
  • Don’t buy beauty products with parabens. They are very carcinogenic endocrine disruptors, linked strongly to breast cancer. They may be buried pretty deep in the ingredient list or have fancy prefixes, so look carefully.
  • Avoid Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate— this one’s a lot harder to avoid, but any reduction in exposure helps. It is a lathering agent used in virtually all shampoos and many soaps and toothpastes. It is a carcinogen, and it mimics the action of estrogen in the body— seriously harmful for both male and female bodies. It also strips the skin of natural oils, allowing other toxins to get in easier. Sodium Lauryl is more irritating, but Sodium Laureth cannot be processed by the liver, so it sticks around a lot longer.
  • Buy fragrance-free— detergent, dishwashing soap, bath soap, shampoo, anything you can. This is probably the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself. If you want fragrance, then buy natural products that actually list which essential oils are used for the fragrance.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Eilyisms

Yesterday:

Eily woke up crying. I'm scared. I keep thinking of foxes and wolfses.
Do you want me to pray for you so that you won't be scared?
Can it go over to me? Can it do that?
(Not sure what she means) I'm not sure?
Well, can you just go get your bible and read about it real quick and then come tell me?
You mean can I pray for you to feel better and then God will make you feel better?
Yes. Like, it will come to you and then bounce over to me.
(slight pause)  Yes.

And I did. And she did.

Tonight:

Eily called me to her bed.
 (in a very whiny voice) Mama, I want to name my baby Ilda when I grow up and I don't want to doctors to hand her to me and say, "Here's Ilda. Here's Ilda." I don't want them to say that.
Ok, tell them you don't want them to say that.
No, I don't want to say that to them.
Ok, I'll say it to them.
Thank you, Mama.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Nora's favorite thing to do.

Eily's School

I've slowly been working on putting Eily's "school" together. She is old enough to need to feel included but not really old enough to do actual schoolwork. We will continue with our reading lessons and she will be doing some handwriting at Wednesday School, but other than that, she will just have the items in her cubby to refer to as her schoolwork. Here's what I've gotten so far and probably all I will get, at least for this semester.


Here we have beginning sewing. All the girls like to play with these.



We have number puzzles.

We have spelling puzzles.


Thanks to Pinterest, we have Velcro Sticks. Look, I made a house!


We have a workbook because workbooks are fun.

More spelling puzzles.

Here we have one of her Busy Time boxes. We have Do-A-Dots, crafts, some more workbooks and twisty, bendy things that you can shape into what ever you want. (I forgot what they're called.)

These are neat. They are another Pinterest find. The white spoon has the upper case letter and the clear spoon has the lower case letter. She lays the clear spoon over the white spoon to make a match. (See "M")


Busy Box #2
A few workbooks, more crafty things and more Do-A-Dots.

And this. Yet another Pinterest craft.

I glued 5 sticks on the back of each picture and wrote the same number on all 5 sticks. Then I cut the picture apart to make a puzzle.


A completed puzzle.