Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recipes for Cleaners

These are the cleaners that I use (recipes from various websites, but changed a bit to make them better!):

Soft Scrubber
3/4 cup baking soda
1/8 cup liquid castille soap
5 drops lavendar essential oil
1/4 cup vinegar
Add enough water to make a smooth paste

Floor Cleaner
I just fill the sink with hot water, add a few splashes of vinegar, and several drops of lavendar essential oil. It works really well.

Glass Cleaner
Straight rubbing alcohol works really well.

All Purpose Spray Cleaner (a little different then the one I posted before)
1 tsp Borax
1/2 tsp liquid castille soap
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cups hot water
Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake

Thyme Cleaner- disinfectant
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful thyme (fresh or dried)
Vinegar (as much as you would like)
Liquid castille soap (squirt)

Boil water, add thyme. Simmer for several hours over medium-low heat, covered. Cool, then strain. Pour the water into a spray bottle, top with white vinegar and squirt of soap. Thyme is a natural disinfectant.
(I haven't tried this one, I will be trying soon!)

Tub and Tile Cleaner
1 2/3 cup water
1/4 cup liquid castille soap
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4-1/2 cup vinegar
A few drops of essential oil

Add soap to water and let dissolve. Stir in bakin soda, then add vinegar (make sure to add it in slowly!). Store in a squirt bottle and shake before using. Rinse thoroughly!

Toilet Cleaner
Sprinkle baking soda and borax in toilet, then pour vinegar. Allow it to sit for a few minutes (as long as you want, depending on how dirty it is!). Then, scrub with brush.

I have found that these cleaners work better and are MUCH safer than the commercial cleaners. I'm excited to have begun this process!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Changes in Household Notebook

I made a few changes in my Household Notebook. I took out the "weekly schedule and routines" and shopping list, and added:

Weekly schedule, routines, and goals- I'm not going to share because it has my personal and family goals :).

Weekly cleaning schedule-

Price Comparison chart (working on)-

And a new Shopping List (based on the price comparison chart)-

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Special Projects this week (with pictures)

I had several projects that I wanted to get done this week, and now I have pictures of them :). I didn't take any "before" pictures. Sorry :)

I turned shelving (with random junk on it) in our laundry room into a pantry:

Organized the other food cabinets:

We rearranged our bedroom to fit the desk, etc:

I made my first batch of home-made granola:

And my favorite part, I made a "school area" for Karis and re-did the bulletin board:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My "book" about our life right now

I wrote a "book" about things that have been going on in our life:

Sorry it's so long!! :)

My "book" about our life right now

This past week has been a roller coaster, ending on a high note :). We've been praying through a lot of things as a family, and a lot of things have been confirmed for us. God has made it clear that we are exactly where we need to be, and we need to be planted here. Things aren't easy, but it doesn't matter where you are; life is not easy. God allows us to go through trials to grow stronger, test our faith, and learn things. We're starting to see how much stronger we have become in the past few years of marriage, and I couldn't be more joyful and at peace. My relationship with Jesus is closer than it has been in a long time. My prayer life has grown, studying the Bible is amazing again, and Robert and I have grown closer in so many ways. I have gone through a dry spell in my relationship with Jesus (praying some, reading the Bible some, but just doing it to check it off my list), and some hard times have strengthened it.
We're excited about the things to come, and are making decisions that affect our family in tremendous ways.
School for our kids has always been something that I've been in prayer about. I've never been one to like homeschooling because I feel that without Christians in the schools, there's no one to tell the kids about Jesus. BUT, I also feel that I need to do what's best for my kids and what God has told us to do with them. Since we came here, thoughts about school have definitely been more on my mind. The school that they would have to go to is 30 minutes away, and 1-2 hours by bus. I don't feel comfortable for my kids to be sitting on a bus for a few hours at a time, and I can't drive them to school and back every day. Also, I've not really heard anything good about the schools here. So, I would have to teach full time in order for them to be in whatever district I work in, and I honestly don't feel that's God's plan. I feel called to teach at Faith Academy. I love it there. So, we're praying about, and have pretty much decided to, homeschool our kids for at least the first several years, then possibly put them into Faith (it starts in 3rd grade). I could still teach a class or two and homeschool because it is VERY part time, and homeschooling isn't all day every day (one of the perks of homeschooling!!). I would always have to teach some (for financial reasons), and I love it there, so it's not a problem for me. That way, too, I have the opportunity to get out of the house sometimes. Their granny watches them 2 mornings a week, and Robert watches them one morning a week (it works out perfectly!). They can always do their independent work while I'm gone if necessary. I feel that I have a better ability to teach my kids than a public school, because I know how hard it is to be a public school teacher. It is not possible to teach each child to their level and ability.
Tomorrow, we are going to create a little "school area" in our house because I've already started some lessons with Karis, and I feel that it would work better to have a specific area for it. This way, we will just continue on and it will just be normal for her. It's going to be fun :). She's such a smart kid. She knows all her letters, can count to 14 (to 20 when helping her), can (almost) sing several songs, and talks in sentences (with up to 10 words). Some people can't understand everything she says, but most of the time she's pretty clear. She also has an amazing imagination. She'll just randomly say "oh no, I'm stuck in the mud!" and things like that. She makes me laugh every day.
I love my family!!! I'm SOOO blessed. I have an amazing husband and amazing children. I also have amazing friends, parents, and siblings (and grandparents...)!! Some days I don't understand why God has blessed me with so much. Praise God for his love and mercy. I definitely don't deserve all that I have.
We are working hard on making transitions to a more healthy and natural lifestyle. It's difficult because we eat in the camp dining hall a lot, but I'm not going to complain about free food!! I can at least eat a salad at every meal!
I am working on our "whole foods pantry;" buying items to make home-made foods. We buy mostly whole grain flours and pastas, try to get organic items when possible, and buy natural meats and milk (no hormones, antibiotics, etc). I am going to start making granola instead of buying cereals, and we have started making our own bread and snacks.
Our goal is to start an organic garden this spring, and eat from that. It will save us money, and will be better for us. Our eventual goal is to possibly also get a pigmy goat, and have milk from that. They are great with kids and will help keep a yard "mowed." haha We may one day get chickens, too. We'll see. :)
I've started making my own cleaners, and I'm just trying to figure out which recipes I like the most. Next, I will be making laundry detergent (when my stock of Purex free and clear has run out), and possibly dish detergent (when my stock of Electrasol runs out). I'll let you know how that goes! I'm excited to try a new laundry detergent recipe! (thanks Aunt Lisa!)
We love our cloth diapers and would never go back to disposable. Every once in a while I have to use a disposable, and I don't like them anymore. It's nice to never have to buy diapers! Karis is almost potty trained, so our diaper buying days are pretty much over!
I also love my Ergo baby carrier. I wear Ethan a lot, especially when we're out of the house. I wear him while buying groceries, anytime we're out and about, when we walk to the dining hall, etc. Sometimes I wear him at home, too, if he's having a cranky day. It is the best $ that I have spent :).
I wish I would have continued to breast feed... I regret that every day. But, I can't do anything about it. So, I just make sure that everything that I put in Ethan's mouth is natural and healthy (except for nasty formula- I wish we could afford organic)... If we have another child (we probably will have one more, one day), I will do everything that I can to at least continue breastfeeding part time. I was just struggling so much because I can never produce enough for my babies to be nourished... It's really hard doing both. But, some breastmilk is better than none, and I know now that I will regret it if I stop... :( (of course, I regretted it with Karis, but I think I regret it more this time!).
Anyway... enough about that. I'm sure no one cares about my breastfeeding troubles :).
I know it seems like we're big time hippies, but we really enjoy doing things the "old fashioned way," and we enjoy doing things that we feel are best for our family. It's a challenge, and I love it. I also love taking care of our home and children.
I could probably go on and on and on about things because I am on a "mountain-top high" right now, but I'll stop for now!! Just know that my heart is full!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

House Hold Notebook

Check out my household notebook:

House Hold Notebook

The sections that I have are: (you can click on the links to get to the documents)

Menu Planning:


This section contains a printed out grocery list in which I just check what we need that week. I mainly use it to plan, then I write it all on a smaller tablet to take with me.


Food Diary


Weekly Lessons (not updated)

Also, I have lots of print-outs from websites that have activity ideas pertaining to the time- this is what I have been using lately because I haven't had time to write new lessons.


In this folder, I have handouts from the pediatrician's office. Soon, I will have his daily schedule (once he forms one!) and a schedule of vaccinations (we are delaying/selective).

Bible Study:

Home-made cleaners:

I have more than these, but this is a start


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Zoo

If you are interested in reading about all that we have been doing lately for our family, read:

Today I posted a recipe for a home made all purpose cleaner that I LOVE!! I have also posted about the cloth diapers that we use and recent meals that we have cooked.

We went to the zoo last weekend and had a lot of fun as a family. We are trying to experience more of life together, and it is wonderful :). This weekend, we're going camping with Robert's sister, brother in law, and niece. It's going to be an adventure with a 2 year old and 4 month old!!

Here are some pictures of us at the zoo, and of my new Ergo baby carrier (I am in love this this!):

All Purpose Spray Cleaner- I LOVE this!

I am in love with home made cleaners :). I have been using a new cleaner, that is easy to make, and works well!

All Purpose Spray Cleaner:
1/2 tsp borax (buy in the laundry detergent section)
1/2 tsp vegetable oil-based soap (I use Dr. Bronner's- can buy this online and in many stores, Target and HEB for sure)
2 tbsp vinegar (I use a little more of this)
2 cups hot water
Shake well until all the solid bits have dissolved
For extra cleaning power, increase the Borax

Friday, October 3, 2008

Update on Ethan

I took Ethan in yesterday for his second set of immunizations (we're being selective/delaying), and the doc is concerned with his head. First, she was concerned because his soft spot on the top of his head was closing up. Now she's not concerned with that because his head is still growing well. She's concerned with it flattening out too much, and more on one side. So the back of his head is crooked. I try to do tummy time, but I don't have carpet (tile), so that makes it difficult. Plus, he hates it. Lately I've been wearing him a lot more in a front carrier, and having him sit up in his bumbo. I hope that it corrects on its own, but we have to take him in for an x-ray. He may end up having to wear a helmet...
He's 17 pounds (95th percentile) and 25 1/2 inches (75-90th). He's only 3 1/2 months, so it seems as though he's probably going to be a tall boy. He's long and heavy. He's not fat necessarily, he's just solid. Robert is over 6 foot, and my dad is 6'6". Robert has a cousin that's over 7 foot... so, we'll see what happens!!
My doc actually told me to go ahead and start cereal (surprised me!) because he eats so much stinkin formula. He's gaining weight almost too fast. But, he's hungry. He very rarely spits up, so she's not concerned that I'm over feeding him; she just thinks he's a hungry boy. He eats 6 ounces at each feeding, and sometimes eats again after 1-2 hours. So, we'll start the cereal and see how it goes. I think he needs it. He's been intently watching me eat for a while, and he can sit up well with some support. I hope that this will slow down his weight gain. He has been gaining 3-4 pounds a month...