Cleaning Up

I’ve written a few times about cleaning products and about trying to live greener. Today, I want to share some things I’m using and doing. I know I still have work to do, but I’m doing more and more everyday. 3865DB83-F9FE-4FB4-B7F3-92F90E3EF0FD.jpeg

While reading, “The Art of Southern Charm” by Patricia Altschul,  I was introduced to the brand called The Laundress. I purchased several things from the company and have been impressed with them. According to the company it contains: “All of the good, none of the bad. Nontoxic, biodegradable, and allergen-free. Free of petroleum, phosphate, phthalates, artificial color, and animal by-products.” Considering that I do at least two loads of laundry a day I need a good product that goes a long way and does a good job.  The Laundress fits the bill! I also love the All-Purpose Cleaner from The Laundress. It does an amazing job cleaning everything! I especially love mopping the floors with it.

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I pack lots of snacks with so many children to feed. Ziploc bags were always in my pantry, but I swapped them for silicone ones after seeing more than a dozen plastic bags littering the beach. I got the Pepe Nero ones from Amazon and I also got some gallon ones with a zipper from a company called Planet Wise. Their website is planetwiseinc.com.

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On a weekend trip to The Home Depot I came across Mighty Bamboo paper towel rolls. They can be washed. They are re-usable and anti-microbial. I will admit that I’m not totally giving up my Viva paper towels just yet (I use those for dog messes and things that just really gross me out), but I am definitely using far less of them now.

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I’m also using biodegradable bags for food scraps and most bathroom trash. The brand I like is Unni.

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I’ve mentioned Puracy products before. I’m a big fan of the made in the USA company. Their products are non-toxic and safe for the environment. I try to buy the big refills to help cut down on our plastic waste.

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I’ve always used Mason jars for leftovers. This is such a simple and easy way to store food.

These are a few ways I’m trying to become a greener person. I want my children and their children to have the healthiest planet possible.

April Fools Day Dinner

8DB3AF89-3BA1-4157-A96A-F3661FF578D8.pngA23FEA70-C43D-4AE8-B647-99A5C6EE6F58.jpegTomorrow is one of my children’s favorite days of the year. April Fools Day provides so many funny moments and fun activities if you just look for it. Every year, I make a special dinner or dessert. My kids look forward to it, so I can’t let them down. I’m including last year’s menu and the year before if you want to start a tradition like this. The way this works is that they are given a card for each of the three courses. They must pick 3 or 4 items at the beginning of the dinner for each course with no duplicates. They could end up with a fork, a cake pop, and a glass for one course. You just have to make your best guess. I try to save plates and napkins from other holidays and use them on this day.  There are so many silly things you can do! I hope you have a fun day tomorrow no matter how you choose to celebrate it!

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“Girl, Wash Your Face”{book/ Audible review}

Let me start by saying that I am an extremely hard critic for books that tell me what to do. I guess I don’t like being bossed around by anyone.

One of my closest friends took me to see “Made For More.” This is a movie about Rachel Hollis and her conference, Rise.

I have to say that Rachel is likeable right away. She’s relatable and funny (that’s why she has a tribe of over a million followers). I wasn’t over the top excited to leave and run and get the book though. I felt like it was great for certain women, but not really for me.

Fast-forward a few days later and I was looking for something to inspire me to do more than just get through my days (which is the way I’ve felt lately). I looked at all kinds of books. I then listened to an excerpt from this book and bought it with an Audible credit.

I listened while I worked out. I listened while I waited for someone to get done with an appointment. I actually was inspired. I didn’t expect to enjoy it half as much as I did. I didn’t really expect to feel inspired or excited from it, but I was!

It’s hard to put my finger on why. I don’t know exactly why. I know that listening to Rachel talk about her struggles, her fears, her dreams, and her successes has made me feel like I can do so much more than what I’ve been telling myself, and what I’ve been letting others make me feel like I can do.  Somewhere along the way, I lost a sense of hopefulness about the future. I needed to hear someone tell me that women tell themselves lies and let themselves believe lies, and that we have to stop it! None of this was new news, by the way. I’ve heard this all before. Head to Pinterest and you’ll see a thousand quotes all about it.  I’ve just never heard it from another person exactly when I needed to hear it.

Even though I don’t have the same dreams as Rachel (I don’t want to be a mogul or friends of the rich and famous) she still spoke words into my heart that urge me to move past the limitations that I allow myself to believe and reach for so much more. I just want to live a life that abundantly serves others,  but in a way where I feel blessed to do so, and not in a way that leaves me depleted and overwhelmed.

I’m looking at my life with greater expectations.

I would recommend this book to any woman out there who feels stuck in a rut, any woman who needs someone to tell her that she’s made for more than what she’s settled for in the past, and any woman who is looking for a cheerleader and a coach to tell her what she needs to do to get out of her own way in order to live a beautiful and full life.

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Happy Pi (3.14) Day!

I woke the children up to a hand-pie breakfast. They are super easy to make, and always a treat. I simply take a refrigerated pie crust and some strawberry pie filling. I cut the crust into thirds, put a couple of tablespoons of filling in the middle. I then fold it over and pinch the seams. A few little slits at the top finish off the preparation. I pop them in the oven at 350 degrees until they are lightly browned. They are piping hot when they come out of the oven, so they need to sit for a few minutes. I served them with a dollop of whipped cream. It was a sweet way to start Pi day. I also made my husband a Keto Key Lime Pie for his after dinner dessert. I love celebrating these types of things even if they’re just in simple little ways.  I’m planning some fun for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter is just around the corner too!

 

Dream On

I have a saved Zillow search for certain kinds of houses. These homes share one major quality. They’re all on the water.  Lots of homes come through my email, but I found my actual dream home in my inbox the other day. As I scrolled through the pictures, I actually got a little teary. This home has EVERYTHING I could ever want or dream to have.

This home is gorgeous! It’s on the water. It is picturesque and romantic. It has a history. I think I long for something with roots. I want something with a story. I think that’s why I have a fascination with antiques and cemeteries (I don’t think I’ve ever told you all about that). I love a good story.  As I look through the pictures, I can imagine so many different conversations. I imagine all the things the house could say if it could speak.

 

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photo credit: Zillow

 

 

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photo credit: Zillow

 

 

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photo credit: Zillow

This search is really a dream search. I will probably never move from my landlocked home. I will probably never have the kind of money it would take to buy and maintain my dream home. So I will continue to dream of the stories of the past in the homes I find in my inbox.

 

Meal Train

Here down South we love to bring food to anyone we think may need a meal. Being ill, having surgery, having a loved one pass away, and definitely childbirth all warrant being brought someone’s signature dish for each occasion. One thing that makes this complicated is knowing what they like and dislike, and if someone else is bringing a meal as well. Meal Train is an amazing FREE website that allows people to see who’s bringing what and when. Personal preferences are also included. For a small fee, childcare, shopping, and cleaning coordination can also be added. It makes it all a little easier for everyone. If you know someone who needs meals and you want to coordinate it, this is the way to go. It takes minutes and you can easily share the link to the particular meal train through Facebook, twitter, and email.

My Favorite Purchase Ever (At Least So Far)

Last summer, I purchased my ALL-TIME FAVORITE antique ever!! My eldest daughter went wandering around on her own and stumbled upon a 5 year diary. This was a rare find because each day (literally) for almost five full years was filled in. The diary belonged to a Texas teenager. She was sassy and funny. She wrote about days of playing cards with her mother and sister. She also wrote about days in church with the guys from Texas A&M (according to her: they weren’t much to talk about). She also chronicled her love for one boy in particular. We sat around the kitchen table after we brought it home and read all the way through the many entries. There were many laughs and even a couple of tears. After we finished reading, I googled her and her family. She sadly had passed away a couple of decades before. Her family is still in Texas. I wonder how in the world her diary made its way all the way to our home state. I wonder if her family knew about the diary she wrote back in her teen years.  I struggle with the idea that I should contact them and let them know of its existence. I treasure it so very much! It’s a reminder of simpler times. It’s also a reminder that feelings never really change. We all feel happiness, sadness, joy, worry, hope, fear, love, and jealousy. It’s those things that I hold close to my heart when I revisit the pages of the daily writings of a Texan teenager in the 50s.

Travel Fun Bags

Along with scavenger hunts, I like to pack little bags of treats and games for the trip. I like to get snacks and candy that I don’t normally buy. I always pack a coloring book and colored pencils in each bag. I try to buy a book for reading on the beach too.  This trip, I bought books of questions to go through with everyone. (My husband and I actually went through some of the questions from the original book on our first outing before we started dating). My super creative daughter used our Cricut to put names or monograms on sand coasters to use on the beach. My goal with every trip is to get closer as a family, get away from work, and have a good time. These little bags are hopefully one of the little joys that I can pass along to my family. IMG_0723IMG_0725IMG_0727

Special Needs

IMG_0334.PNGOkay, this post is going to be a bit of a rant, so I apologize already. I have had this thought on my mind for a few weeks or longer. As I have explained before, one of my daughters has an extremely rare brain abnormality. She struggles to learn and do what many of us take for granted. She has very little depth perception and peripheral vision. She has trouble with her short-term memory. She has lots of trouble with crossing midline activities like swimming, biking, reading, and writing (think about the fact that we read and write from left to right). She has what I would consider “special needs”. She needs help and accommodations to do regular, everyday things.

I have heard that “special needs” is now considered a politically incorrect word for people who happen to have any type of lifelong difficulty. I had one parent tell me that her daughter, who is deaf, is not “special needs” but just unable to hear. While I agree, the world has gotten a lot easier for those who are hearing impaired; I was left with the feeling that she saw the phrase “special needs” as a dirty word to be avoided at all costs.

I found this online:

More Appropriate:  Sam has epilepsy, Tony has cerebral palsy (CP), Helen has a learning disability, – attention deficit disorder

*Less Appropriate:  “special”, person has “special needs”

Comment:  *Term is patronizing and distancing by those with disabilities. Often used by programs providing services and support for disabled people and meant as a ‘positive’ alternative. Describes that which is different about ANY person as all simply have “needs.”

from: http://rds.colostate.edu/language

I suppose what I am having a hard time with is that getting upset about words that are not intended to offend is that I feel like it alienates more than helps. My daughter is one of approximately 46 people in the United States to have colpocephaly. I have to explain what it is to most doctors. It’s much easier to say she has special needs, or she is developmentally delayed. At least then there is a moment of understanding and maybe empathy. Listen, being a parent of a child with any disability is hard and lonely. The more that the disability affects daily life and that child’s future, the harder it is. Every child is different. Every parent is different. I work hard on doing my best for MY child. I don’t have time to look up and stay updated on the most current politically correct language for disabilities, struggles, handicaps (or whatever you call them). I spend my days doing occupational and physical exercises with my child. I look up and research the newest research on what she struggles with. I sit for hours and work with her on basic life skills, as well as trying to teach her all the subjects that will enrich her life. I don’t have time to sit around and be offended.

I don’t intend to be offensive or mean, but I think sometimes we spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t matter. My child and her “special” needs keep me too busy for that!

Star Wars Dinner {May 4th}

Last night we had our May the fourth be with you Dinner. I decided that hamburgers and hot dogs would be the main course. I also served chocolate shakes, chips, green jello, and Star Wars chocolates. I ordered the Star Wars molds from Amazon from a company called Vibrant Kitchen. I was very impressed with the quality of these molds!

The foods were labeled:

hamburgers: Han burgers

hot dogs: Hutt dogs

Jello: Carbonite jello

chips: Chewbacca chips

Star Wars graham crackers: Wookie cookies

buns: Princess Leia’s buns

chocolate shakes: Stormtrooper sippers

I had the children gather all things Star Wars around the house. We decorated the table with a silver tablecloth and then put a roll of Stormtrooper wrapping paper down as a runner. Then I let them use all the Star Wars items to decorate the table. (I think they did a great job!) I got Star Wars and holographic plates from Target.  I made all the labels using Dafont’s Star Jedi font.

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During our school day, we used several worksheets from Year Round Homeschooling 

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After dinner, we played bingo from a pack I downloaded from Royal Baloo .

I’m so glad that so many talented people create these cool printables, and share them with those of us who don’t share the same gift!

I love how much the children and even my husband enjoy this little celebration. My husband even said we should host a party next year.

It was a fun May 4!