Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Homemade Cleaners Recipes

Lately I’ve been scouring the web for homemade cleaners, and I thought I’d share my findings.  My reasons have been more for financial benefits than ‘going green,’ but most of these will definitely help keep some of the toxins out of the home!  You’ll notice there are only a handful of ingredients…I purposefully chose first the ones that would be the cheapest for me to make, and I figured if I didn’t like the results, I would then try some of the more involved recipes.  I can happily report that I’m very pleased so far!

All-Purpose Cleaner

equal parts white vinegar and water

a few drops of your fave essential oil for a pretty smell (completely optional)

This works really well for just about everything, even the bathtub.  Of course, if your tub is really grimy (ahem…), you can sprinkle on some baking soda to help scrub it all off.  If you skip the oil, you can also use this as a window cleaner.  I found out the hard way about the oil…

Laundry Detergent

1 bar of laundry soap (Fels-Naptha, Zote, Ivory), finely grated

1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)

1 cup borax

Mix ‘em all together, and use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  I use Fels-Naptha because it’s what my grocery store carries, and I’ve never had any residue left behind.

Fabric Softener

white vinegar

Just fill your washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser or a downy ball, and walk away.  Otherwise add about a cup during the rinse cycle (who has time for that?).  *Note* Sometimes you can smell the vinegar when your load is done, but as soon as it goes through the dryer, you’re good to go!

Drain Refresher

mix 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup salt and pour it down the drain

then pour 1 cup of heated vinegar down the drain (it will fizz and bubble)

let it go for about 15 minutes, then run hot water for a minute

I did this one today after noticing an unpleasant odor coming from the sink (I didn’t have any lemons or oranges around to use in the disposal).  Smell be gone!

Homemade Febreze

2 cups warm water

1/4 cup liquid fabric softener

1 tsp baking soda

Just mix them up in a spray bottle and voila!  Obviously, if you’re looking for a green product, the fabric softener is not going to fit the bill.  I suppose there are green fabric softeners out there, though.  Also, there are a lot of recipes that use vinegar again, but since that smell is around until it dries, I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for.  I often only remember to use Febreze when someone is coming over to hide the stale diaper smell that likes to hang around here!

These recipes are all over and there are tons of variations, but these are some that are working for me.  If you have any of your own to share, please do!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our First Day of School

Well, it’s over!  All the kids are asleep, I’m prepared for tomorrow, and I can breathe!

Our first day was okay.  Hero, McAwesome, and Sweetheart Girl were all excited, and thankfully they maintained their enthusiasm throughout the day.  About 20 minutes into the morning, all three little ones suddenly demanded my attention, and I could not seem to get them occupied with anything!  I admit, I spent a few minutes berating myself in my head for even attempting this this year with practically all new materials.  I did send a text to my husband telling him that I was going to need a Coke by the end of the day!  (He took my oh-so-subtle hint, by the way!)

Eventually, the littles calmed down and I was able to focus some attention on the big kids.  It felt a little disjointed, as I didn’t figure very well how much time some subjects would take, but I suppose that will work itself out as we get into a rhythm.

My biggest disappointment of the day is that I didn’t take any pictures!!  They all dressed themselves so nicely, but then the morning took a bad turn for a while there, and by the time I thought about it…well, they all had lunch leftovers on their faces :)  Guess I’ll have to get some later in the week and pass them off as the “first day of school” pictures years down the road!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

10 Things I Love About My Husband!


Ten years ago, I married a wonderful man!  I was young (18), but I knew the Lord had brought us together and had planned something great for us!  Maybe sometime I’ll write about how we met (we don’t actually remember!) and fell in love (I knew I loved him when I was 16!), but today I just want to share 10 things that I love about him.

In no particular order (except for number 1):

1.  He’s saved AND following the Lord.  Needless to say, in the ministry we see often the struggles when this is not the case!  Marriage takes work for even the most faithful Christians, and I can’t imagine going through it with a man who did not have a heart for God.

2.  He WANTS to be a good husband.  I mean, he is, but he is because he makes an effort to love and care for me like Christ loves the church.

3.  I never fear talking to him.  I know women who do not feel welcome to open up to their husbands, so they instead share everything with everyone else!  Even if I’m not always sure how to approach a matter, even if I’m fairly sure he won’t agree, I know I can talk to him.  I rarely feel a need to talk about my husband to anyone else because I know I can just talk to him!

4.  He’s an incredibly involved dad.  He changes diapers, he gets up during the night, he’s willing to take on the majority of the discipline…that doesn’t mean he likes to, but he does them anyway!  He plays Parcheesi, Red Light Green Light, wrestles, gives hugs and kisses, and…he’s not afraid to take all six kids out by himself!  Which leads me to number 5-

5.  He’s understanding to my need to get out every now and then.  Even aside from being a stay-at-home mom, my personality is such that I like to go out and do things!  He is willing to let me go out by myself for a few hours and often will tell me we have 20 extra dollars this week so why don’t I go look for something to buy.  That’s the best :)

6.  He’s funny.  We share a sarcastic and mostly nerdy sense of humor.  Those of you who know us, know that we’re nerds and we’re okay with that!

7.  He works hard.  And I mean hard.  I’ve never been under another pastor who has shown so much effort, time, and study when he preaches.  He’s always making a visit, calling a church member, and praying for someone.  He puts his heart and soul into the flock that God has given him, and it shows. 

8.  He’s hot- and he keeps getting better looking every year!

9.  He’s very discerning.  I appreciate that he knows the Bible and has the ability to interpret a passage accurately.  He can see things about people, about why they may be acting a certain way, about what the real issues are behind it, and he’s bold and caring enough to address it.  And if I see something differently than he does, he is often discerning enough to listen to me :)

10.  He is proud of his family.  I love it (and somehow am embarrassed at the same time) when we go out somewhere, especially to a pastor’s fellowship meeting, and he introduces the whole family by name.  That’s quite the list to get through…

Of course there’s more, but I’ll pace myself.  There’s always next year!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spelling Practice Ideas

As I continue preparing for the school year, I’m continually on the lookout for other’s great ideas.

One area I knew I wanted to put some effort into was spelling practice.  We’ve always just copied and say-spell-say (said?) the words every day, and quite frankly, it’s boooring!

I read an article a while back with some great ideas, and I just found it again this morning!  Here’s the link:

The Homeschool Classroom is a site that I visit often, and even when I have no intention of putting something into practice, I still enjoy reading about what others are doing.  It’s often full of encouraging words and sometimes points out the not-so-glamorous struggles homeschooling often entails!

I hope the boys enjoy their spelling drills with some of these new ideas!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peace, Be Still


Mark 4:35-40  And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.  And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

This was the main text of a session that I recently attended at Spiritual Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church.  The topic was surviving the storms of life, and, as usual, I was reading the notes ahead while I waited for the class to start.  As I read this very familiar passage, something stood out to me that I had never seen before.

Jesus calmed the storm before He taught his disciples a lesson. 

No kidding, huh?!

But I believe God was teaching me a little parenting lesson at that moment.  As you can guess, with six young children in the house, there is no shortage of storms in our home.  Someone hurt, something broken, etc. and the kids are frantic.  I realized that far too often, I am trying to scold and/or teach while in the midst of the storm.  And, big surprise, that’s when my volume level rises!  Soon I’m nearly as frantic as the kids, and when everything finally does calm down, I have to repeat everything I just said because no one could focus before!

Maybe this is overly simple, but I’ve been trying to watch myself very carefully these past few weeks.  And I’m making a point to be very quiet, soothing when necessary, until the storm has calmed.  Then we can all focus on what needs to be said.

After all, God speaks to His children so often in that still, small voice.  Why shouldn’t I strive to do the same?