St. Patrick’s Day Green

I’m an Irish girl. Er. Irish-American. Whatever. But, still, the vast majority of my ancestors? Irish peasants. I’m fascinated and proud of the heritage.

That said, I’ve never used the traditional “Irish” holiday as an excuse to drink. It’s an awesome holiday, of course, but the people who tend to go all out (whether Irish or not, whether they know a lick of information about St. Patrick himself) make me shake my head. I still remember going to a college class on St. Patrick’s Day only to observe heads in garbage cans and bodies of passed-out people riddling the common areas. At 9AM. I’m not a prude, but… No. Words.

But, if you’re planning on hitting the pubs this year, try a different green beverage before donning those green beads.

We recently tried out this recipe for super-simple “beginner’s luck green smoothie.” Dave hadn’t jumped on the smoothie bandwagon yet, and none of us had tried a green smoothie. Of course, Hadley LOVED the thing, and Dave enjoyed his more than I expected. Our variation of the original goes like this…


Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie
(adapted from 100 Days of Real Food’s recipe)2 cups spinach
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 cup water
1 banana, in chunks
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup pineapple chunks

Blend the spinach with the liquid until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer. (Add more liquid if you like it thinner, or use all frozen fruits or ice cubes for a thicker consistency.)

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Ours was perfectly sweet with the mix of banana, strawberries (which Hadley requested) and pineapple (although the pineapple admittedly left a few random “strands” of texture here and there), but you could drizzle in agave, honey, or a sprinkle of sugar if you need it. 

Leftovers might just help alleviate a hangover. *wink, wink*

And if you wear some green in celebration (or, um, drink green beer), here’s a little trivia for you: The green (of the Irish flag) doesn’t represent the green grasses and shamrocks of Ireland so much as it does the many Irish Catholics who died at the hands of Protestant rulers. In the 1700s and 1800s, while England and Ireland clashed, Irish persons were hanged for wearing green.

So, please. Wear it proudly.

Or drink it proudly, as the case may be.

Real Food Challenge – Week One

Since one of my intentions for 2015 is for our family to eat cleaner, less processed foods, it was damn near providence that I saw 100 Days of Real Food‘s 14-week challenge, just in time for the new year. Talk about luck! After running by the weekly challenges with Dave (and having him totally and excitedly on board), I signed up.


So, here’s how it works. I’ll get an email every Thursday for the next 14 weeks (the actual eating challenge will start on Sunday or Monday for 7 days, so there are a couple of days of prep built in). Each email outlines the “rules” for that particular week. It’s up to the participant as to whether or not they’d like to try each week independently or build on top of the prior week. In other words, continue doing the prior weeks while attempting the new weeks, if that makes sense. There’s also a very active Facebook group that’s sharing and answering and supporting. 

I’m trying to be flexible in this while still adhering to the rules, so I can’t say whether I’ll be doing the “build-on” method or the “one week at a time” method. I will, however, be following the rules as best I can. To help with figuring out what groceries we need to get weekly, I’m trying to make a loose menu for each week. Here’s this week’s (which is to eat at least two fruits/vegetables with each meal): 


Some explanation: Whole wheat wraps would also include a natural lunch meat like turkey or ham along with the ingredients listed (and probably something more); the sandwich would have a side of things like carrots/cauliflower/peppers to dip into hummus or a healthy ranch; all other items listed are homemade (not canned soup or bought pizza). 

We may end up substituting other dinners if we don’t feel like, say, veggie quesadillas or I don’t feel up to making something, but it’ll still be within the rules. Let’s just say we’re all salad people (Hadley’s even into them, with a little ranch) and all of the dinners would include an additional veg on the side. Oh, and you’ll also see that there aren’t always seven items for the week per mealtime; this is mainly because we’ll sometimes repeat a meal (like have oatmeal twice in a work week).

I’ll also have to make some substitutions for our two-year-old. He usually eats pancakes every morning during the work week, so I may continue this but ensuring that it’s a real fruit-based one with a banana or orange slices on the side (although he’ll probably devour a smoothie or omelet on the weekend when we’ve got the time). He’s also not quite at the “chewing a carrot” stage (he takes HUGE bites, so…no) so he’ll get cooked, frozen (organic) veggies along with a sandwich or a ham-and-cheese wrap with extra fruit and veggies.

Check out the above link to see if you’d like to see what the other weeks entail or if you are interested in signing up (better late than never!) There are a zillion ways to make this work for you and your family, so don’t take my loose menu as “the” way. And I hope to let you know how the first week goes next week (Thursday or Friday), along with my menu for the following week.

Happy eating!  

Our Kid is Healthier Than We Are

Much like my post of yore about our earth-friendly cats (just one kitty at the time of writing), it’s time to fess up about our toddler boy: he eats better than we do.


Well, for the most part. I mean, he’d still live on pickles, PBJ, mac ‘n cheese, pizza and pancakes if we’d let him, but as far as a diverse and well-rounded diet? I think he’s got us beat.

And, yes, I get the irony of the thing. I’m the one making these healthy choices for him, after all. I mean, we often ask him his opinion between two healthy options (or ask him which “meal” he wants and stick in fruits/veg as a side), but we’re also pretty lucky that he’s not a super picky little guy.

When I sit down to eat a lunch with him, I occasionally find myself thinking, “Hmm. How is his healthier than mine? Maybe I should skip the chips for an apple…” And, while Dave is a salad fiend, he’s probably the pickiest eater in the house (sorry, hon! At least you eat tomatoes!), so I find myself having a difficult time finding new recipes to try that we’ll ALL enjoy.

So, while we’re not working towards a weight-loss resolution this January 1st, one of my hopes is to get healthier as a family. As I mentioned in my “intentional New Year” post, we’re researching our CSA options (but that won’t take effect until late spring) and work towards purchasing more fresh fruits/veg and breaking our processed food habit. We’ve fallen off the farmers’ market bandwagon (we only went a few times this year), so hope to start hitting up the couple of winter market options. Soon.

The funny thing is that, while a lot of people use this time of year to focus on weight-loss and health, I find that my body starts to actually crave lighter foods. After the glut of sugar (and, believe me, I’m downright addicted to sugar), fat and generally heavy meals during the holidays, there’s nothing I want more than a nice salad or roasted vegetables. I’m hoping, also, to find a few nice vegetarian main meal recipes to throw in the mix.

Anyhoo, here’s some of Had’s advice (paraphrased) for you —

* If you love something, it’s delicious, even if it’s good for you. (Find what those delicious healthy things are and enjoy. He eats fruit and yogurt or pure applesauce as voraciously as he does a slice of pizza.)

* Try everything, at least once. (He will get three or four mouthfuls of something before he realizes that maybe, just maybe it sucks. By then, I can convince him to finish. ;-))

* Share! (I’ll often split an apple with him since he doesn’t generally eat an entire one on his own. I have to remember this when I choose to eat a pickle with a sandwich; he WILL see it and he WILL want one, too.)

* Mix-and-match. (Don’t just try to eat boring, good-for-you stuff. A sandwich or wrap is okay if it’s made with minimally-processed bread and healthy toppings, especially extra veggies. Hadman will even eat a complete salad if we drizzle a tiny bit of natural, organic ranch dressing on. Don’t beat yourself up over the “bad” on your plate; pat yourself on the back for upping your intake of the “good.”)

* Don’t drink soda. (I’m sure he would if he could…but I won’t allow it. Ain’t nobody got time for that crap. As it is, I’m trying to ween him down from the watered-down juice. Gah.)

* Treats are treats. (You’re not entitled to them — and, crap, neither am I. Hadley’s “treat” is all-fruit, all-natural fruit “gummies.” He gets them maaaaaybe once a week. Lately, he’s also been getting my gingerbread cookies a little bit, but he still knows they’re treats and that it’s a BIG deal to get them.)

   
I think it’ll be easier, in all, to remember our monkey’s relatively stellar diet the next time I start to choose a bagel over fruit and yogurt.

Gotta Stay on Top of My Life, Gotta Stay on Top of My Life

Is it just me, or is September kind of like January’s nerdy kid brother? Given all the back-to-school craziness and a return to “normalcy,” I tend to be confronted with the fact that I clearly didn’t do enough of a productive nature over the summer (even if I actually got a ton done). I flounder and stare face-to-face at a necessity to get my life in order. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Teachers, parents…hey, even single or retired folks. Something about that chill in the air, am I right?

January’s the cool kids’ turn to pick some resolutions in an attempt to kick start some positive change. I see September as a quieter, yet tad more frenzied time to do the same. All those lists that people consider on January 1st are just as relevant on September 1st. Perhaps because they’re not under a microscope as much, they may not be as intimidating…maybe?

So, obviously I’m taking a few steps to “stay on top of my life.” (If you don’t know the Kids in the Hall already, I beg of you — check out the video. If you’re not into a bit of bloody violence or quirky humor, please, for the love of God, don’t click. Oh, and this was a huge part of my adolescence. Explains lots.) For a simpler take on this, I provide you with this hilarious (or, if you’re not in the know, ridiculously random and stupid) take…


Yeah. I made that. Ahem.

Back to the point. Given that September is equivalent to January, I thought I’d share a little list of the “resolutions” I’ve already started working on. Some are relevant to being back at school and having more structured time (which means focusing on using my time more wisely) and others are just good ol’ self improvement things.


For the record, I hate the word “resolutions”, too.

Bed by 10pm (on school nights). Dang nabbit, I’m doing this. Depending on the night, falling asleep by 10 is easier than…coming up with an analogy. Other nights, my energy level is higher and I’ll force myself to lay down, sans TV/cell phone/any screens whatsoever and read. It’s helped me get to the conclusion of the book I’ve been reading ALL SUMMER, so that in itself is pretty rad. It also makes me far less grumpy come 6am. Um. Generally.

Getting in some exercise. I’m not taking on the PXButtKickandLiftChallengeXXI or whatever, but I’m hoping that by incorporating variations of cardio/Pilates/yoga/core strengthening, I’ll be gaining some much-needed extra energy as well as *hopefully* toning up some of the squishy bits. I’ve already mentioned it, but Spark People is a great free site that provides a variety of videos at various levels (hello, beginner!) and numerous lengths. I’ll probably move on to other sites if these ones aren’t cutting it anymore, but for now they’re perfect.

I think one of my issues in the past is that when I get it in my head to do something — anything — I go gung-ho initially and have a hard time following through at ANY pace. Apparently it’s something my father did in areas of his life. When it comes to exercise, I’ve done this but also burnt out thanks to overdoing it from the start. So, I’ve started out by doing one medium-length or two shorter videos at a time, breaking a good sweat but leaving myself feeling energized rather than totally zonked. I’ll build on.

Oh, and I’m doing this 3-4 days during the week and 1 day on weekends, while keeping track a) the exercise(s) and b) duration of workout on our family calendar, partly for motivation and partly because I have the memory of a…of a…I don’t even know what.

Setting boundaries. This. Is. Hard. I fall into this trend of not leaving school until after 4:30 (our contract says we can leave at 3:30). And it’s not like I’m doing anything super important. I’m just fiddling here and there with stuff that can totally wait ’til the next day. So, I’m trying to leave by 4 (and earlier on Fridays, can you imagine…). This helps with the aforementioned exercise goal (fitting in the exercise, a shower, and getting dinner underway before the guys get home) and will help me stay focused during the day on what needs to get done instead of putting stuff off ’til the end of the day.

“Money money money mooonnnneeyy. MONEY.” (That stupid song that’s used for “The Apprentice.” Gah.) I’ve mentioned this lately, but I’m going to be paying close attention to my spending, writing down my purchases, analyzing where my cash is flowin’ and why, and researching some ways to keep it under tabs.

For those in the balcony seats, let me project: I’M NOT GREAT WITH MONEY. It’s tough to admit that, as an otherwise generally responsible adult who thus far HAS been fine with moolah. (And I don’t have massive student loans as an excuse like my awesomely-getting-on-top-of-it husband.) But, yeah. We’re looking at some pretty big goals as a family and if I don’t focus on this area of life, it’ll be my fault. Not cool.

Thank goodness for cool, approachable sites like Our Freaking Budget. We also glean some good advice from Dave Ramsey, so you don’t have to leave any “Dave Ramsey is a GOD; we got rid of $1 million in debt and now have $1 million in savings thanks to him!” spiels in the comments…unless you want to brag. In which case, go on with your bad self.

Oh, and I’m even considering taking part in one of those “zero spend” challenges. Maybe. We’ll see. I’m gonna go cry now.

Planning meals. This one will help with finances but I’m also highly interested in seeing if meal planning truly does help me a) cut back on food waste, b) save ka-ching at the super and farmers’ market, and c) make life easier. I’ll check back if it does and let y’all know. And I’m on the hunt for real food cook-ahead and slow-cooker meals. SO hard to find slow-cooker recipes without a can or bottle of something super processed to bring it all together (and undoubtedly make it yummy).

Simplify, as always. This is kind of a life goal that sits on my shoulder everyday. I’m pretty lucky, though. It’s more like the cartoon angel version on the right side rather than the naughty/devilish kid on the left side. So, there’s that. But, yeah. PURGE is the name of the game. A lot of our house is looking more and more like “us”, and I love that, but we still have storage spaces (and, heck, out-in-the-open spaces like the toy explosion storage in our living room) that need another once-over. The basement is also in dire need of straightening and hoeing out (who you callin’…) AND painting, so there’s that.

The thing that sucks for me is that, well, again…I’ve got my dad’s gene of needing the motivation before getting up and DOING something. Takes me forever to finish a project, but once it’s done, it’s done pretty darn well. So, I can’t say on Monday that I’ll plan on working on the basement Saturday. I may wake up Saturday feeling motivated to do something else that’s equally important. Or play with Hadley all day. Or sit on my tush watching the world whiz by (while the laundry’s going…because at least then I’ll feel like I did SOMETHING). Whatevs.

But, I think the only way to break this is to just DO. Like, we wouldn’t have gotten our recent front porch project completed if Dave hadn’t said, “Okay, I’m going to start this.” (Once he started, I had to finish, so I didn’t want to let his hard work be overshadowed by my laziness.) And, believe me. I did NOT feel like doing it, but when it was done…well, awesomeness ensued.

Live in the moment. Observing the changes in Hadley. Enjoying the humor that my students pump into random lessons. Looking for moments of simple joy and lucky experiences. Contacting friends to hang out or come over for meals or meet up for coffee. In general, remembering to savor the good and hold onto the bad momentarily. 

Hey, look! Seven things in my list. Whatchya know? So, what about you guys? Do you feel like this time of year is a bit like New Year’s with its feeling of “let’s start this season on a new foot”?

Or are you just psyched for pumpkin spice everything? Really, though. Who can blame you?

Currently – September 5th

Mwahahahaaaaa!!! I won’t say that I lied last week (because I technically didn’t say I was giving up on my “currently” check-ins); just that I’d be sporadic. And today’s part of that. *wink* That said…


Anyone else feeling like watching a John Hughes movie? No? Just me?

I’m currently loving Spark People for quick, at-home exercises. I know. I said “loving” and “exercises” in the same sentence. Going insane, clearly. Anyhoo, there are a million videos, and there’s a range of levels (say ‘hello’ to a definite beginner). Oh, and the best part is that I can fit in a quick-but-sweaty 10-minute workout in before Dave gets home with the kiddo. I’m also up for any other “please don’t kill me” free exercise vids. Needless to say, I’m not into those self-punishing sites. Just want to get the blood pumping and energy levels higher.

I hate to say it “out loud” for all to hear, but I am kinda craving the autumn weather, along with its old sweaters and cups of hot things and dead leaf smells. Yup. I guess those first days of school are harsher when the temperatures mock the mild summer you’ve just had. (Dude. It’s going to dance around the 90 degree mark today.) Or, maybe I’m craving one last hurrah to a beach, since I didn’t get an official stick-my-feet-in-sand-and-enjoy moment this summer. Either/or.

Although he was super demanding this summer (and, really, what toddler isn’t?), I’m definitely feeling the burn of seeing Hadman head off to his SUPER patient, SUPER gracious grandma’s house for another school year. He’s starting to understand now where I go (although he’s never visited; I can’t seem to find an appropriate time for him AND my students), and is starting to get that I am spending time with other kids. Big kids. He’s not the happiest about it, but at least he’s pretty flexible. Y’know. As far as stubborn toddlers can be.

I’m questioning my finances right now. Dave and I have been embroiled in plenty of house talk (no arguments or major disagreements or anything, thank goodness) and decisions of when and where we want to move…and how…and all the other important life questions that accompany those thoughts. So, what do I do when I feel like I’m floundering and keeping life at a standstill? Why, visit the internet, of course! Going to hit up Our Freaking Budget some more to get some advice…y’know…for a person who absolutely cannot keep track of her spending and who SUHUUUCKS at budgeting. One of those. (I try not to spend. That’s my current method. “Don’t spend a lot. Then occasionally buy yourself something purdy. (Usually for the house or for the kid, honestly.) Then go back to not spending a lot.” It’s gotten me this far, but we’ve got goals here, people!)

I’m trying not to be a “worrying” person. There’s only so much control we really have over ourselves, but given the sheer amount of worrying that my mother did (single mom + 4 kids of varying ages + very limited funds + a natural propensity to worry) gave me an idea of how I didn’t want to live life. Sure, she was an incredible parent and did an awesome job, but I’ve discovered just how much energy is wasted by worrying. It pops up here and there, at particularly stressful times, but for the most part, I keep it under control…and enjoy life as it comes. 🙂

Linking up at Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale, folks. Check ’em out.

Green Guy

Hey, guys. Today’s post was inspired by my super sweet brother-in-law, Dan, who asked me my opinion on some green brands and products he was considering. Of course, I immediately thought, “Oh, cool! Maybe someone in blogland could use my thoughts, too.” So, here we are!

I’m not an expert at any of this stuff. I’m clearly not a dude. (Um. Hopefully you knew that.) But, after reading reviews and doing some research, I’m pretty confident that these are some kickass products. Of course, it should be stated that not all products work the exact same way for everybody. Like, our current shampoo works great for Dave and “eh” for me, but I still think my poo-free days changed my hair’s pH and I’ve lived with straw-like conditions ever since. But I digress.

Today’s post is all about the guys. And, because I’m me, it’s particularly about the eco-guys. You know who you are. The ones who are looking for ways to eliminate the earth-hurting crud from your daily grooming routine. Who still want to look good (and, ahem, smell yummy) without the tingling chemicals, drying foaming agents, and general nastiness that goes down the drain.

I’ve got your back. Since I’m unable to try these myself — do you really have to ask why? — I’ve decided to pick a couple of extra products (like two shampoos, etc). Check out the reviews for yourself and consider what will work for your needs. And, ladies, the next time you need a sweet little gift for your sweet, don’t do the Axe. Seriously. Just put down the Axe.


1 –  Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo (for Heavy Dandruff), 100% Natural and Sulfate-Free – I selected two shampoos because everyone’s head is different, and I thought it would be cool to give you guys some options. I know the bottle is purple and it may look a little feminine, but that’s actually because this is a shampoo that could work for both men and women. It’s so awesome that there are natural options out there for folks who have dry skin, dandruff, and dermatitis. (Are those all the same things? I don’t know. Maybe.) Oh, and it’s cool for color-treated hair. That’s pretty cool.
2 – Every Man Jack’s 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo – Like I said, everyone’s head is different, and some guys are fighting an issue with thinning. I know how much thinning can affect a guy’s self esteem, so the fact that this phthalate-free option exists (and with a conditioning option) is awesome. Let’s just say that I may ask Santa to bring this to our house this year.
3 – Baxter of California Chrome-Plated Safety RazorThe Dorky Daddy loves his safety razor, although he admits that it does take a time or two to get used to a newer, short-fast strokes method. Seriously, this thing is awesome, and you’ll only need to buy the individual razor blades once in awhile. (Hint: If you dry off your razor well every time you use it, you’ll hardly need to buy new ones.) Plus, if you buy one package of blades, they’ll last FUH-RE-VER. Just try it. Oh, and this (along with a kit of the proper brush, a holder, and some soap in a cute bowl or mug) was his all-time favorite Christmas present. I kid you not.
4 – ManCave Natural Face Moisturizer – No parabens. No sulfates. No synthetic fragrances or dyes. No petrochemicals. No GMOs. No cruelty. No problem! Plus, it comes in super manly packaging. These companies are really catching on to what people want. Oh, and it helps firm your skin (thanks, caffeine), clear it up if you’ve got a bit of acne (thanks, borage oil), and has several anti-aging agents. Wonder if I could get away with using this…
5 – Kiss My Face Creamy Cleanser Clean for a Day – I wouldn’t usually support a face cleanser, mostly because everyone’s face is very much unique. As a teen, I had battles with moderate acne (wasn’t that bad, but it tore my self esteem to shreds enough to matter), so I know something that works for one person won’t work for another. However, the reviews were good enough for this one that I feel confident saying that maybe 8 out of 10 people will have success with this one. It’s great for sensitive skin, has a light citrus scent that could work for ladies or gents, and full of everything we like and has NOTHING we don’t like (vegan-friendly, not animal tested, etc etc)…yeah, I think I WILL be ordering this one myself.
6 – Moon Dance Soaps Refreshing Mint Lathering Shave Soap – This will work perfectly with #3 above! The reason I picked a mint soap is because it’s such a refreshing scent that leaves your skin feeling tight and gives you a morning aromatherapy session that will rival your cup o’ joe. I also hit up Etsy every year to put a different scent in the bottom of someone’s stocking. It’s always great to support a small business owner who supports the philosophies we live by. 
7 – Herban Cowboy Dusk Cologne – (How cute is that name?!) Here’s some more super sexy packaging containing an even better product. It’s another vegan product, produced completely in the US, and the Herban Cowboy series of products seem worth checking out. (Especially their deodorant, which people are saying “actually works for a truly stinky man.” Good to know.) ***Please make sure that you purchase the true brand of this since, apparently, there are knock-offs going around. Since this made the below list, which means a lot to me, I’m still supporting it, but some of the online reviews are warning against some sellers.***
8 – Burt’s Bees Cologne – If PETA thinks these colognes are great, I’ve gotta get behind that. We’re a Burt’s Bees family, so I decided to include this cologne because a) it’s a natural, animal-friendly option and b) it seems to be a completely different scent from #7. It is TOUGH to buy a cologne online, so I should mention that most reviewers love it, although there are one or two that find it a bit too…shall we say…hippie-ish. But, if your guy’s into that, awesome. That said, plenty of reviewers mention citrusy, Bergamot, Cyprus and Fir notes (which sounds pretty woodsy and manly to me).  

Do you have any earth-friendly products that you or your guy enjoy? Are you fans of a particular brand? Tell us all about it in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy something (even if it’s not on my list), you’ll make my day AND help us pay some bills. Seriously. So much appreciation.

Anti Clorox Wipes

In a house full of cats and an active toddler around, messes are inevitable. Namely, messes of the bodily function variety.

That’s right. Cat pee and potty training smears.

It happens. Daily. Gross, but it’s kind of a moot point when you’re in love with those little rascals.

So, when we recently ran out of my OCD-ish husband’s favorite clean-up tool, disposable Clorox wipes, I found myself hesitant to buy some more. I knew full well that it was contributing to an eco-hater status, which I cringed over every time we wiped a potty seat. Plus, the nasty chemical makeup of the wipes bummed me out.

Of course, I did what every mother does when faced with a dilemma: I took to Pinterest.

There actually wasn’t as much as I thought I’d find, but I really only needed to find one great pin. And I found an awesome resource for you guys at Live Renewed. You’ve got not one but TWO recipes for a natural disinfectant.

I decided to take her Castile soap (ahem, I hope you all know we mean Dr. Bronner’s when we say that, right?) and tea tree essential oil recipe and run with it, mainly because I had all the ingredients on hand.

Side note: My essential oil experience has been a fun experiment that’s working out quite well so far, and I still haven’t ordered my replacement lemon (and any new ones I’d like to try out, so any suggestions for new “flavors” would be welcome in the comments!), which is why I didn’t try the other recipe. I’m loving the quality and non-pressure system that Native American Nutritionals has in place compared to others.

Anyhoo, back to the wipes. Here’s how I put this shebang together:


 
For the reusable wipes, I just cut up a couple of (*cough* too small *cough) soft old T-shirts, which gave me…like…maybe 16-20 wipes per shirt, depending on how big you make your wipes. You can also use old cloth napkins (I cut up a few of those for the days I’m out of T-shirt rags) or your husband’s old boxers or whatever. Just check first. Let’s just say I’m waiting for mine to give up on a couple of crappy white tees to sacrifice for the cause. I’m not sure if color really matters or not; it’s not like I care whether they get stained since they’re rags, but I’ll be sure to update you if the color runs. (That said, if you have something white to cut up or use, um, choose that. Probably best.)


Here’s the stuff I mixed up. Per her recipe, I used about 10 drops of tea tree oil (which actually SMELLS like it’s disinfecting, I kid you not! Like Lysol, but natural!), two tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s, and a cup of water. I ended up splashing a little more water in to moisten all the wipes, but I think it’s because I put the solution on the bottom of the container instead of pouring it over the top.

Doubt that this stuff works as well as Clorox? Behold…doesn’t this look all disinfecty? If that were a word, of course…

Right?? So, I put the solution at the bottom of my empty, de-labeled and washed Clorox container…

Sexy. Anyhoo, this is the point that I cut up my reusable wipes. I wadded them together, kind of in a roll, and pulled them up in the middle (I didn’t end up using the old white napkins on the outside since there wasn’t room in the tube)…



Don’t overthink it. Just shove it in and pull in the middle. It works. Okay, this is probably the point I should have poured the solution over everything, but I had already put it in the bottom hoping that it would seep upward. I’m sure it probably would have seeped just fine, but I’m an impatient mama and love to see results. So, I splashed a bit more water on the top and shook the thing. Here’s our final product:


Yup, I grabbed a marker and labeled it with a cheeky description. It also has the recipe in small lettering on the other side, just in case my husband feels like whipping some up next time, or in case my incredibly shoddy memory fails me. Again.

I’m keeping them where we kept our old wipes, under our bathroom sink. It’s where we dump Hadman’s potty and where they get used most frequently. This also happens to be where our laundry hamper lives, so it’s perfect. If I think it’s gross to toss these in with the laundry, I’ll grab our old wet bag from cloth diapering days and keep them in there ’til all the rags and linens need to be washed. No big deal.

Whatchya think? Would you try reusable wipes, or are you addicted to your current method of disinfecting? No judging here.

(By the way, there’s an affiliate link or two included in this post. Just a warning. It won’t blow up your computer, and if you purchase anything off of Amazon after clicking through my links, even if it’s not a product I listed, you’ll be helping to run this here little blog. Which is awesome of you and earns you a gold star for the day.)

Currently – August 15th

Dudes. August is halfway over. Practically. I suck at math. And I make completely blatant observations. Hi, my name is Megan, and I’m awkward.

Oh, and I’m working on a bit of a makeover for this here blog, but am having some layout issues. So, all ya get is the new header. Enjoy the cleanliness while it lasts!

That’s enough of an intro, right? Here’s what’s “currently” going on ’round here…


I’m currently searching for rugs. Well. I shouldn’t say “currently” because I’m always searching for rugs. We have area-ish rugs in our sunroom (with boring, thin stripes; too traditional), living room (there’s also a carpet, but I need to ground our seating area…with a rug that’s only slightly darker than the carpet…der?), and dining room (three words: squares, multicolor, scrolls). The rugs in those areas ain’t cuttin’ it anymore, so I’ve scoured Overstock, West Elm, RugsUSA.com, and about a dozen others regularly to see if I can find a deal. Unfortunately, even the deals are a tad rich for my blood. Plus, when I find something I *think* might work, I question it. I’m just a questioner when I’m spending a couple hundred (each?!) smackers. I drool at Target this time of year, thanks to back-to-school college kid rugs.

On non-sticky and non-comfy/ugly clothes days, I’ve been wearing the crap out of a silky blouse I scored at TJ Maxx recently. I’m not usually a Maxxanista outside of their home goods goodies, mostly because their stuff is super trendy (read: only a model can wear it without looking super awkward…and we all know I’m pretty awkward on my own) or downright ugly. I also always feel like, while perusing their racks, I’m searching the clearance racks at Kohl’s (ya never know what you’re gonna get), where I always leave disappointed. This one, however, has some small navy-and-coral (reddish coral?) prints and is flowy enough to make me feel hip but covered up. And it’s weird because I’m not a “blouse” person. At. All. But, it’s my new fave and has made me think about a few other pieces I should try. Isn’t it awesome when ONE PIECE can inspire you for the rest of your wardrobe? Worth the price…which I forget.

Needing me some full-on motivation. It hasn’t gotten any better since last week. Almost every day has been usurped by some thing or another, so my days of “he’s napping, go paint/dust/pick up/go through something” have halted. I’m to the point where I know I should just finish ONE more project before I head back to school and I’ll be happy. Now, which project will that be…?


{I could totally use two for this one, but I’m gonna get creative here. Watch me!}

Despite a really kind offer from loved ones for their house and a deep desire to do so, we’ve decided to put off any moving plans to the spring. Again, we hope to keep working on our beloved-but-small house while keeping our eyes on the market in areas we hope to move. The two reasons we have to move: Our neck of the woods is getting a tad scarier and just isn’t an area we hope to raise kiddos (not so bad that we can’t wait a little, honestly) and since we do hope to have more kids, it’s just too small (it’s shy of 1,000 sq. ft….plus 3 cats…carry the one…yeah, it’s cozy). The two main reasons to wait: Some big ticket bills will be paid off come spring, so our finances will leave us feeling a lot more comfortable to make some changes, and waiting also means that we’ll be able to look more for the wishlist items we hope to have in our “want to own it a long, long time” house. 

I won’t say that I’ve been eating crap recently, but my husband and son are eating tons better than I am. Our dinners are usually the same thing, but I tend to incorporate more veggies and fruit into their lunches and snacks (and sometimes breakfasts) than I do my own. I just don’t pay any attention to mine. I’ve been carb-based for awhile and I’m concerned it’s starting to show a bit around my mid-section. Squishy. So, I’ll be on the search for a lazy person’s workout routine to get my arse moving (see? Moving?) and try to make a few food changes to see what I can do. Needless to say, we haven’t been as active as we all should be for an adorable, young, spry family. *ahem* She says while eying the innumerable gray hairs springing forth from her noggin.

I’m taking part in the Currently linky party, graciously put on by Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale. Gotta love a party you don’t have to brush your teeth or brush your hair to attend!

Lemony Goodness

Apparently lemons are my thing lately. I’m hoping to make a lemon cake for Hadman’s birthday this weekend. But today’s not about recipes. It’s about essential oils.

I’ve had my starter kit for a couple of weeks now, and I’m discovering the awesomeness of each kind s-l-o-w-l-y. As a problem strikes, I turn to Google to see which oil will help me out. It’s been fun to learn about these all in a hands-on way. And it’s kinda funny to see how excited, amazed and clueless Dave is about these little viles of magic. I’ll never forget the first time he set eyes on them and said, “Aww! I’m so sorry they’re so small. Is there a bigger size to buy?” Sure, 15 mL is a small container, but for the most part you’re only using a few drops to maybe 10-20 in one use. So, they actually last quite well.

So, while I’ve been using lavender on my pillow (Dave says it’s the best sleep ever), an “arthritis” blend for my achy knees (I’m not old, really), tea tree on my feet when I feel like I’m coming down with a summer cold, and peppermint to chase away an upset stomach, I thought I’d share my current FAVORITE use for essential oils. By far the best.

See, while I’m not a laundry hater, and I stay on top of it pretty well, I have a tendency to get that smell goin’ on with it. You know the one. The I-forgot-the-load-and-left-it-in-too-long-on-a-humid-day musty smell that, if you wear the clothes, follows you all day.

I’m the queen of that smell, it seems. Am I the only one?

Well, the only EO that I’ve decided to relocate out of the handy carrying case is the lemon — next to the washer. It’s going to stay there until it’s empty…then I’m getting more to repeat the process!

There are two ways that I use the stuff. I’ve come to add it automatically (10 drops, give or take, depending on the size of the load) to the washing detergent before dumping it into the washing machine. If I don’t get to the clean-but-wet load in a day or so, I haven’t noticed that musty smell AT ALL.

Then, if the load has been in the dryer and is displaying any not-nice smell, I put about 10 drops on a washcloth (it can stain, so make sure it’s an old cloth or one you’re okay with staining; this hasn’t happened for me, but you never know), toss it in, and run it until everything’s dry (or run it for awhile to “fluff” the load). If it doesn’t take it away completely, repeat the process. It shouldn’t take more than two “fluffs” to rid the clothes of the smell.

The reason that the lemon EO is so ideal for laundry use is its disinfectant qualities. (It can also be used in other cleaning applications, too.) See? The stuff ain’t just for aromatherapy! I’ve found a couple of links (like this one – alternative to disinfectant hand gel?! – and this one) that give you far more information than I currently can on other incredible uses for this lemony goodness.

Does anyone have an EO uses that they can’t live without to share? I’d love to pick your brain!

By the way, I’m not a seller of any essential oils, so these opinions are just to help out anyone interested in the benefits of EOs, no strings attached. 🙂     

Getting Oily


If you’re into holistic lifestyles (or the concept that the current health care system ain’t cuttin’ it), you’ve probably heard about essential oils. These are highly concentrated oils from plants, herbs, flowers, and fruits that, when applied to parts one’s body, taken in capsule or beverage form, or diffused into the air, can have tremendous healing powers. The more I read, the more I realized how beneficial they could be to try out. Headaches, illnesses, stress reduction, even for cleaning around the house — there seems to be an almost endless list for their uses.

The skeptic in me kept searching, not for whether to try the stuff or not, but picking from which company to purchase essential oils. I’m part of an awesome Facebook group that had some great suggestions, and, upon searching further, I found a blogger that wrote tons of articles comparing popular brands and discussing whether cheaper really was better. At the end of her series, she posted this article announcing “Native American Nutritionals” as the winner for quality (and for “not too good to be true” value). Check out the post to see her reasoning.

Her reasons (and invaluable research) were compelling enough for me to consider purchasing their basic kit. It was priced, at the time, at $154.35 (10% off as a kit). See why I’m hitting myself over the head trying to select the right brand? This $&#% is expensive (and rightfully so)! Oh, and quality matters big-time since there are some sleazy people out there trying to pass crap off as the real thing. Also, I didn’t want to get into the other companies’ “buy this much a month, get this much free” stuff because a) I was still skeptical as to its validity (if it would work for our family) and b) I’m not good at the pressure of purchase. (You know, like if I get a 30% off coupon for Kohl’s, the pressure that I should go use it because goodness knows when they’ll send a 30% off coupon again. Hate that. It makes me cry in aisles, I kid you not.)


But I kept hearing of Young Living and doTerra as people’s favorites. This article helped me to whittle it down to YL (which most of my FB buddies recommend, anyway). Still, I searched further (gotta love in-depth comparisons where folks do days and days worth if work for you. Apparently I’m lazy). Finally, the these links (here and here) are the two-part analysis that gave me a result that was clear. I’d be plunking down $154.35 (plus S&H…or is it S&P?) to try NAN.

I *FINALLY* ordered earlier this week, so I was kinda shocked when they arrived on Wednesday. I’ve used them a couple of times on our pillows (lavender one night, a blend called “tranquility” last night) and they were wicked relaxing – but that’s all so far. 

This is clearly the start of something, so I’ll be sure to share my findings. If I find a need to switch to another brand in the future (namely the highly recommended YL), you’ll hear about it. If I find that EO are the greatest thing since sliced bread, you’ll know. For now, I’m just ecstatic to finally get going!