Friday, November 16, 2007


It seems like such a simple thing. Breathing comes naturally, well to most of us it is automatic and without thought. But it is something that we need to pay attention to. Have you ever sat and focused on your breathing? I learned years ago in a Psychology class at Sinclair about deep and focused breathing. The deep breathing, from the abdomen. Wow, what a difference it makes to focus on your breathing, to inhale completely and then exhale that same air fully. It feels so peaceful, so relaxing, so good! Try it...right now. Sit for a few moments and take five deep breaths. Let your body relax. Isn't it wonderful! We need to do this more. To fill our lungs completely...I think our body appreciates it.:)


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Our church did a 40 day fast a few months ago. I decided to fast sugar and the radio, while driving in the car. At that time, those were the two things that I thought would give me the most pain if I had to do without them. Sugar, obviously for anyone who knows me, has always been an issue for me. The radio...well, I love talk radio and I almost always have it on in the car. My husband is appalled by the fact that our sons are bombarded constantly with the ideas and opinions of Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

So, anyway, today I was thinking about what I need to fast right now. What is consuming me and would cause me great pain to do without and's the computer. As I posted before, it has become somewhat, okay a major, addiction. I love trading with mamas on diaperswappers and I love finding great deals on things. I need nothing! So, why am I doing this? I have a very addictive personality I have found in the recent years. Like my mom said the other day...wasn't it a coupon site I was addicted to about a year ago. I'm not sure why I am like this...but I don't like it! I don't want to be so obsessed with things that take up so much of my time.

My answer to this is to cut my computer time down to 30 minutes, three times a day. In the morning, at noon and in the evening I will spend 30 minutes checking email, etc. Other than that, I will work on others things, that are much more important in life! When I fasted before, I found that I spent more time writing, reading the Bible and just having quiet time to think. That is what I be refreshed, renewed and inspired. I don't think the computer can do any of those things.

Live well...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's the little things in life...

You know the little things make life so wonderful.

*When my one year old opens his mouth wide when I say "Give me a kiss"
*The thick waves in my oldest boy's hair
*The twinkle in my husband's eyes when he is being rotten
*My house being filled with the smell of a roast cooking in the crockpot
*Being able to open the windows and feel warm air in mid November
*Having the freedom to go where I want, when I want
*The love and support of my family & being able to be myself around them
*Wise parents to direct me
*Relaxing as I sew at the sewing machine
*A warm house at night
*Fresh fruit to eat
*Money to buy that fresh fruit...I mean cash, actual money, not credit
* A husband that supports me

These are just a few of the wonderful things in my!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Smells of the holidays

My mom, sister and I went to Waynesville last Friday night for a "girls night out". We walked downtown Waynesville, visited the shops, and squeezed in at the last minute to have dinner at Der Dutchman. Well, it was partially for mom's birthday (which was yesterday) too. Anyway, it was nice to smell the holiday smells. The cool air outside, the warm air inside, the spiced candles that the shops had burning. I love the smells this time of year. Smells seem to warm my insides and remind me of years gone by. Times when I was a little girl and my most important job was to get my dolls to bed...or my G.I. Joes lined up right. I love this time of year...Thanksgiving and Christmas. The smells, the lights, the joy of Christ and all that He does for us. I am blessed!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Please don't get a flu shot!

Okay, so you may think that I am weird, but I have never gotten a flu shot...but I have only once (that I can remember) had the flu. I know it is all the buzz this time of year to get the flu shot to "protect" yourslef from the flu. I just want to say that there are so many other ways to boost your immune system to really protect you from viruses that go around this time of year.

My Dr. says the best things to do are load up on atioxidant rich foods (foods with bright colors) and take Echinacea for ten days every thirty days. So load up on blueberries, raspberries, spinach, tomatoes, etc. and keep track on your calendar of when you need to take your Echinacea next. At the beginning of the year I had strep throat two times in 45 days. My Dr. gave me these tips and I haven't been sick since.

We are so quick to do what everyone else seems to be doing that we forget to listen to our own bodies. Please look in to all of the risks that come along with the flu shot and other vaccines. As a society we need to get back to a more natural way of living...which does not include vaccinating ourselves needlessly. I know, this may be a new way of thinking, but check it out. Spend some time looking in to supplements and more natural ways of caring for your body.

My passions...

At this time in my life I have some very clear passions...maybe addictions. I have been feeling lately like my passion at the moment may be turning in to an idol. Which I know is so wrong! I used to think that idolatry was something so foreign to me and that I would never have "that' kind of problem. It creeps in on you though. I truly believe that whatever you hunger for more than the Lord is an idol.

Sugar used to be my number one idol. I craved it. I thought about how I would get my next "fix, ie; candy bar, chocolate, sweet" just like a crack addict does. It was bad. It consumed my thoughts, time and money. I would plan my driving route around where I could stop for a sweet. How sad! But I have this under control now (just recently). I try to stay away from sugar as much as I can. I will allow myself some for special occasions, but I don't have it in the house and I am not spending my money on it.

So, what is my current passion (trying not to let it turn in to idolatry :))? It is cloth diapering and natural living products. I have been talking to S lately about wanting to open up a store that is geared toward natural parenting. I think there is such a need for this. I feel such a great desire to convert disposable diaper users in to cloth users. If people only new how easy it is and how much money they could save. It seems so obvious to me. Not to mention how much trash we would save from going in to landfills!

I know a brick and mortar store isn't realistic right now, but maybe an online store would be a possibility. I would like to carry the following...

cloth diapers, covers, liners, inserts, and doublers.
cloth wipes
mama pads and diva cups
wool longies, shorties and wool care supplies
soft sole shoes for kids
Klean Kanteens/stainless steel cups
slings and baby carriers
mama made soap and candles
cloth shopping bags and net produce bags
wood toys
essential oils
cloth toys, books and blocks
felt food for kid's play
organic bedding and wool puddle pads
oh, I could go on and on...I love this stuff!:)

As much as I love real estate and selling passion is helping people save money and helping them figure out ways to live on as little as possible. I love simple living. Right now I don't live as simply as I would like, but I am trying to get there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The J.O.Y of Christmas...

So I just realized that Christmas is only nine weeks away! Yay, it will be so fun this year with the boys. All the new traditions that we get to create and pass on to them! What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children about so much...during the holidays. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas time. The traditions, being with family, the smells, when my mom puts a fire in the fireplace, Christmas eve service, Christmas carols, having a full, I'm blessed! Okay, so back to's not even Halloween yet and I just ran away to Christmas! Anyway, the reason for this post is to pass on something lovely that I read on, of course, diaperswappers the other day.

A mom posted (in a thread about saving money at Christmas time) that her and her husband taught their children about the J.O.Y of Christmas. They get three gifts (as Jesus did from the wisemen) one for J-Jesus (a Bible, devotional, cross, etc.), one for O-Others (something that they can do with others ie; board game, etc.) and one for Y-Yourself (a personal gift for them to enjoy). Is this a cool idea or what? I had heard about the three gift idea before...but I love this JOY idea. I think we will try and implement this with the boys. I hope some of you find this as wonderful as I do...maybe we can help our children find the true meaning of Christmas.

I just want to say a few more things as we move in to the holiday shopping season. Our family decided about two years ago to stop buying gifts for the adults in the family. Do you know what a relief this has been to everyone involved. No more racking our brains trying to buy the perfect gift for someone who has everything that they need anyway. It has taken so much stress out of the holidays. It saves us money, time & energy...what a lovely thing. But I think reducing the amount of gifts that you give and instead focusing on spending time with each other is such a blessing. So take the step, it can be uncomfortable, but ask your loved one to agree with you this season to have dinner together, or go some where special together, instead of exchanging gifts. Most people are truly relieved and it makes the holidays so much more enjoyable!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Life has taught me that the Bible is true. Which I knew...but sometimes seeing is believing. I was raised (reared:)) that tithing was what you are supposed to do. The Bible says that 10% of your first fruits should be given back to God. So that is what I have always done.

With that being said, I have never gone without. I have never been hungry, without clothes or shelter...and I have never had a need that hasn't been met. This has taught me that the Lord is faithful and that He blesses us when we are obedient.

So if you are reading this and are in financial troubles, please consider tithing. It may be very difficult at first and a huge sacrifice...but I promise that it will change your life. You will not only see a difference in your finances, but something miraculous happens when you surrender your money to Him.

They say that you can see what is important to a person by their checkbook (or credit card statement). I think it is important to make tithing our first priority when we receive money. I used to think it was just for our income but the Bible does say from our "first fruits". I believe that it means any money that comes in to our lives. Which means from tax refunds, gifts, sales on Ebay, etc. This may sound extreme, but when you look at it from the big picture it seems pretty simple.

We would have nothing without God. Everything we have is because He allows us to wake up everyday and breathe. We would have no job, house,, if He didn't choose to give it to us. I think the least we can do is give a little bit back to Him.

So I would like to challenge you to try it. You may be thinking "I can't even make my bills now, how can I write a check for tithe?". But you will see Him work. He will amaze you at how He decides to provide for you. Try it! Just for a month...I challenge you! Then make sure you tell others of how He has worked a miracle in your life.

Blessings to you!

drinking from plastic...better alternative!

This doesn't seem natural to me! I do not like drinking from plastic and have began thinking about how I can be more responsible in this area. Especially with my little ones and sippy cups. I bought a used stainless steel portable cup from a garage sale awhile back...but I put it in the dishwasher and ruined it. Anyway, I am too cheap to buy a $10 cup from the store (that I am not sure how long it will last) I am still drinking from plastic portables. But, I ran across these online ( the other day . People there just rave about them. They seem very nice and sturdy...and they even have some with sippy lids! So now I am trying to find mamas to trade with me on diaperswappers so that I don't have to actually spend $ on them! How cheap am I?! No one seems to want to part with I may try to sell some stuff to raise the $. Anyway, food for thought! I think we drink from and eat off of plastic too much! It can't be good for us.

the library...books, magazines, dvds, classes

I must tell you that the library is one of my favorite places to go! I really enjoy reading both magazines and books. My favorite magazines are Real Simple, Mother Earth News & Country Home. I enjoy non fiction books mostly and focus the majority of the time on organizing, home keeping, making things, simple living, and finding peace. The library has so much to offer and one of the best things is that it is all free!
Some of the wonderful things about the libray to our family are as follows; being able to order books & movies online and then pick them up at our convenience, requesting newly released movies and then waiting for the library to email you when they are in, and adult and children's classes on a variety of interesting topics . My oldest son loves to pick out an animal or holiday and then go find a book or movie that relates to it. He thinks it is so wonderful that he can borrow so many books. I just enjoyed a very relaxing evening making hand milled soap at my local library. A local mom brought in her homemade soap base, essential oils, dried flowers and molds and taught us how to make our own hand milled soap. The soaps that I made are shown above. I made a lavender, Eucalyptus and an orange scented soap. They smell heavenly! Can you believe the library offered this class totally free? They are soon offering basket weaving, jewelry making and scrapbooking classes for adults. I will take my oldest next week to a pumpkin painting night for kids. How fun!
With a little patience (waiting on the new release list for your movie to come in) you can get new movies for free, you can learn to make handmade goodies and you can teach your children how wonderful reading can be! The library is a wonderful resource. I have saved at least $60 a year on just borrowing magazines from the library. Magazine subscriptions add up quickly! So before you go to buy a book, order a magazine subscription or pay to take a class, check with your local library. When I was at the soap class the representative from the library was asking for ideas for other classes that we might have interest in. So they are even open to suggestions of what you may want to learn. Enjoy life...and take time to read!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Saving for a rainy day

My four year old found a dime in the parking lot at the grocery store the other day. Immediately he wanted to know what he could buy with that ten cents. I told him I thought he should put it in his new bank (my dad just got him this really cool oil filter bank) and save it. He only sees the blow pops he could buy with it! I'm trying to teach him about giving some, saving some and spending some. That is a huge concept for a four year old to grasp!

Being in real estate has been such an eye opener in regards to saving for a rainy day. I could have three closings this month, and then no closings for two months. You just never know. I live by God's grace, working hard (and also by having an over-achieving husband who works six days a week) and knowing that He will take care of us. When I was first in the business ( I have been in ten years), I would have my commission check spent before I even had my closing. Sometimes my expected closing was delayed, or didn't happen at all, but that credit card bill was still due. I now live by what I have in my hand and do not spend beyond what I already have.

Saving for a rainy day frees you of so much worry. You know that if an unexpected expense comes up, things will be fine. It frees you to think about other things and to enjoy a peace in your life. Without that safety net, life can be overwhelming. For many years we lived way above our means, and had nothing saved. It was a very uneasy way of living. I felt very insecure and worried. I would rather give up the little things, and even some big things, to have an emergency fund. The peace of mind that it offers is worth a lot more to me than the short-lived happy feelings that the other item would bring.

Saving can seem painful at times, but it is so worth it in the long run!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Today I feel especially thankful for the faithful friends in my life. I feel blessed to have many people in my life that love and support me...and what a blessing they are! I'm thankful for genuine, trusting, honest people who share their lives with me. I got to see an old friend the other day and it took me back many years. To a younger me, who was really influenced by how they treated me. People can have a huge impact on us. How they treat us, and make us feel. How they talk to us and respect us. This makes you feel important and respected, loved and cherished. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by people in my life that love me and have nurtured me. Most of who I am today is based on relationships that I have been involved in, in the past.

These thoughts made me overly aware that my boys are being molded in to the men they will be later in life, now. I heard someone say the other day that parents need to be the people that they want their kids to be. Whether I am ready or not, I am helping to form my boys image of themselves, their trust in others, their work ethic, outlook on life, regard for others, ability to handle money, ability to trust in God, etc. I have a huge job!

But what an opportunity! To know that we have the ability to love others fully and to help them to feel cherished and appreciated, respected and adored. I felt that way as a child. I am so thankful for people in my life that took the time to play with me, love on me, talk to me, listen to me, and treat me like I was the only person in the room. That may sound snobby, but I think we need that at be made to feel like we are the only person in the room...or on the earth for that matter. Everyone wants to feel special and loved...even boys and men, I don't care what they say! :)

So let's spread the love, invest in each other and cherish one another! Oh, what fun!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What a beautiful day!

Fall began yesterday...but today is another beautiful, warm and sunny day!

I'm thankful for these warm days. Sunshine seems to warm my soul, it gives me energy and boosts my mood. I love the sun! The corn and beans around us are being I know fall is I will savor every one of these last few warm days. For cold ones will be here soon. The clothes line will be empty, the windows shut and the green grass gone.

Thank you Lord for all of the seasons, in weather and in life!

Friday, September 21, 2007

kids & gifts...especially toys

So , I know as a child I loved toys. I got so excited when someone gave me a present, when my grandparents bought me new clothes for school, when my Popu gave me made me smile and made me feel happy. So why now as a parent do I have such a hard time with my kids getting gifts? I love to see them smile...and for them to have that moment of happiness. But then I see the excess...and it makes me want to stop them getting gifts altogether. I know that sounds extreme, and it is, but how many matchbox cars can one boy have, how many stuffed animals, trinkets, etc. Where does it stop?!

Some of this I know is due to the fact that I am trying to simplify our lives. When I look at what the boys actually play with, it equals about a dozen items. They have their favorites and the rest of the toys don't get touched. So why do we have all of this? Why do I allow more things to come in the house? I am just as guilty as any see a cute little something, that you know they will just you buy it. It gets played with until it is broken, or they are bored with it...and then back to their favorites. So, how do I stop this vicious cycle of stuff?

My sister-in-law and I talked about this the other day. She has four children, so she has double the burden of toys & stuff that I do! We think the solution is gift cards. That way the parent can get the child what they need/want when they feel it is appropriate and it is a win-win for everyone. Yes, the child doesn't have a present to open up at that "special" moment...but you know what, patience is a virtue! I bet kids would learn a lot from waiting for that something special.

So for my boys, I am trying to keep out any additional toys, trinkets, animals that will add to their already abundant array of fun! They have a sufficient amount of things to entertain them and I don't think that they need anything more. For Christmas we plan to ask Santa to bring them three gifts each (just as the wise men did for Jesus) and put some consumeables (fruit, treats, bath stuff) in their stocking. For E's upcoming birthday, I know this sounds weird, but I really feel like putting "no gifts please" on his invitation. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I know I can be a bit extreme, but he needs nothing. He is perfectly content with what he has, he has enough clothes for five kids (thanks to his counsin's hand-me-downs), and again he needs nothing. I guess out of peer pressure (how lame at 31) I probably won't...but I am still thinking about it.

I just want my boys to grow up knowing that stuff doesn't matter. I want them to learn to take care of what they have, appreciate it and be content. There is so much more to life than stuff...and it sure doesn't bring happiness. So, I am trying to teach my boys these important lessons, without taking the fun out of their childhood. Parenting can be so tricky!


Oh to find it! To be satisfied with life as it is today, with no expectation for tomorrow. Some days I feel totally content and then on other days I crave for what could be, should be and how I would feel better "if only".

With maturity seems to come contentment...or at least the people that I look up to seem to be that way. I guess that is why I look forward to being in my 40's and 50's...hoping for contentment to arrive. It would be nice to be comfortable in my own skin, to know that I am who I am by God's grace...and not care what anyone else thinks of me. To know that life is a process and that I am where I am today because I'm on the journey of life. See most of these thoughts I can speak...but I want to own them, to be them, to carry them with me day after day.

Like the Bible talks about being content and balanced. Not like a wavering man being tossed back and forth and unstable in all his ways (Nicole's paraphrase :)). That's what I want! I want to be content, balanced and predictable. That may sound boring to some...but to me it sounds peaceful!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Classic clothes

While getting dressed this morning, I thought about my clothes and how simple my wardrobe is. I have about 8 black tops, one pair of jean capris, two pair of blue jeans, one pair of khakis, one pair of black dress pants, one pair of gray jeans, misc. cotton tops, three dress tops, one pair of khaki shorts & a black linen dress. That is my wardrobe, adding in about six sweaters for winter and two pair of winter dress pants (blue and gray). Wow, does it make life easy to have a closet full of classic items that all pretty much go together.

I try to buy clothes that you can wash at home, as I think drycleaning is unsafe (all those chemicals!) and way too expensive! The only thing that I have that has to be drycleaned is my black linen dress, and I just wear it for business appts. or special occasions, so it doesn't get dirty very often.

Needless to say, I do have sweats, lounge pants and misc. shorts/tops for working around the house in. I think it makes life easier to have a classic wardrobe and to stay away from all of the trendy clothes out there. It saves space, time, & money...and for me classics just make life easier!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fresher air

Okay, so I was perplexed the other day when I saw a magazine ad for this new liquid dishwashing soap that has an air freshener built in to the bottom of it!!! What?! So, I decided it was time to vent about air fresheners!

Let me back up by saying that I am appalled by how many "fresheners" are on the market today. When you go down the cleaning aisle in the supermarket there are (it seems like) a thousand different smells to "freshen" the air in your home.

Okay, so, let's first define freshen! Freshen has nothing to do with chemicals, artificial smells and toxins in a can. Why do people feel the need to spray this stuff in their homes?! The stuff suffocates me! Seriously, I feel like the "natural" air has left me and that I need fresh air ( like I need to go outside to an open space) when someone sprays this stuff. Don't even get me started on the whole Febreze debate and spraying that stuff on your clothes, furniture etc.! What you wear, where you sleep, and relax etc.! Again, what in the world have ads and big business sold us on! We know better than this...right? I think again that we have just become so trained to pick up what we see at the supermarket or that we buy in to the ads on tv for this stuff. We forget, or don't know maybe, that there are other options.

Essential oils, baking soda, opening windows...these are all things to use and do to freshen the air in your home. Take some water in a spray bottle, add some drops of your favorite essential oil, and there you have it...your own freshener. You will be amazed at how much cleaner and fresher your home, linens, etc. smell. Put baking soda and a drop or two of essential oils in the bottom of your trash can to soak up any unwanted odors. Add a few drops of EO to a cloth and put it the dryer instead of using softening agents or sheets. Your clothes will smell fabulous.

Try and be creative with ways to freshen your home without using chemicals. There have got to be health benefits for using EOs instead of toxic sprays. Sometimes our homes just need the windows opened so they can air out. You may think I am silly for how disgusted I seem by these unnecessary sprays, but I really think so much could be saved by not using them. Money, our health, the waste of the cans/bottles...let's try something natural instead!

Plastic bags???

Do these things breed in your home too? I'm telling you at one point I thought they were actually breeding in my house. You know those small plastic shopping bags they give you at every store you buy from? You can only have so many around the house for trash can bags, know what I mean? So, I had my mom make me a really cool shopping bag from old jeans and I use that and two other totes that I have to shop with. Most grocery stores here in the Dayton area give you a $.05 bag credit when you shop with your own bags. I like it because I can put so much more in my cloth bags, so it makes it much easier to brings things in after shopping. Also, I am going to start using a lingerie bag for my produce bag. I no loner use those annoying plastic produce bags that you put your fruits & veggies in. Those things are worthless...what a waste! You can't even use them for trash bags! So I read on a blog the other day about making net bags for your produce (with a drawstring) but then a poster at said that she just uses her laundry lingerie bag as it already has a zipper on it! What a great idea! The cashiers will no longer be honked off at me for my rolling-around peaches!

Anyway, I am at a point where I am trying to bring in as little plastic as possible to our home. So I am thinking about how to reduce my plastic bag intake. We now only use one of these plastic bags as our kitchen trash bag. No big trash bags (unless we have a party/gathering or something). It goes in a small can under the sink. We have so little trash between composting, recycling and stuff for the burn pile, that we no longer need a big trash bag. We get maybe one large bag of trash a week. Plus, I like having a smaller bag. It gets taken out to the outside can more frequently so that cuts down on any odors inside.

It is so against the norm of our culture today to take time to focus on these little things that seem to be frivolous...but reducing the intake of these bags can make a difference. Even if you don't want to shop with cloth, maybe start to ask for paper bags. At least they are biodegradable!

Buying from people you know, locally & SAHMs

Just a post to say that buying locally, supporting people you know and "SAHMs" (stay at home moms) is a wonderful thing. I would much rather buy from someone I know, support my local community, or buy from a mom trying to make money to support her family than shop from a big box store. So check out for homemade Christmas gifts this year. My friend Jessica makes really cool baby,kids & mom items and you can see them here . My friend Gretchen at Small Wonder Wipes makes the most luxorious cloth baby wipes ever. Go to your local farmer's market while you still can. Post what you want to buy on Craigslist. Let's support our fellow man before big business and have fun doing it. Let's be creative with our dollars instead of just running to Walmart or the Dollar Store because stuff is cheap there. Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sew much fun!

I finally broke out the sewing machine that my grandma gave me months ago. I haven't sewn since high school and was really wanting to relearn the basics. So I got this great book from the library "Sew Subversive" and it took me step by step on threading the machine, bobbin info, etc. The last few days have been a blast sewing. It is really relaxing for me. I also find it so nice to use my creative I really don't have too much creativity in me. Next week I will begin a three week class at the "Stitching Post" to relearn sewing with a pattern. I will make a pair of comfy "lounge around the house" pants and hopefully learn a ton. I look forward to getting good enough to make things to sell. Probably more baby and mama cloth stuff, but you never known what might turn up.

I would like to encourage you to get the "Sew Subversive" book from the library if you need sewing instruction, but aren't sure where to begin. It is written by three young women (Melissa Rannels, Melissa Alvarado & Hope Meng) and is so easy to learn from. They are funny too...the humor helped me not to be so uptight while trying to follow the directions. Anyway, I think sewing can be a wonderful way to be creative and save money (if you get supplies free or on the cheap) on having lovely things for your home and to wear. Enjoy!

homemade dishwashing detergent

Yay!!! Finally a recipe that works for homemade dishwasing detergent!! I haven't used my dishwasher in weeks because I refuse to use that store bought chemical loaded up-smells your house like bleach mess and I am too cheap to buy a healthy alternative. So I had been searching online and last night a poster on ( my favorite cloth site) said she uses equal parts Borax and baking soda with vinegar in the rinse-aid dispenser. I used about 1/2 Tbs of Borax and soda (made sure there were no clumps in it) and put vinegar in the little dispenser. My dishes came out beautifully! Yay!!! I am so excited. I don't mind handwashing at all, but sometimes you have things that you want to make sure they get really clean and Yay, I am excited that I have this really easy, cheap, no bleach smell recipe. Sweet!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

waste not, want not post error

I wrote a lot more on the "waste not, want not" post...but some how it got deleted. I will finish it up soon.

waste not, want not

In today's disposable society...where it seems everything is disposable from cameras, to individually wrapped snacks, to paper towels, to juice boxes ( I hate these things)...I am trying to live a life with as little waste as possible. The world would have so much less trash if we all made an effort in this area. I think we just get so used to what everyone else is doing that we don't even think through the impact that we are having on our world. It amazes me...but for years I did it I understand why people do what they do.

So I would like to share with you some of the changes that we have made in our house in this regard. I would love to hear your ideas and changes that you have made in this area too. So please post comments! First off we are almost totally cloth in our home. By almost totally I mean I haven't been able to convince my husband to go toilet paper free...but if I had my way we would be (let me know if you have questions about how to do this). So, what does almost totally cloth mean? Cloth napkins (not paper), no paper towels ( I use newspaper for greasy food to rest on), cloth menstrual pads (no tampons, maxi pads, etc.), cloth wipes for E's bottom (no huggies here), cloth wipes for runny noses (no Kleenex), and cloth diapers ( no sposies).

Another change is we try and recycle or burn anything everything that we can.

Friday, August 17, 2007

chemical-free cleaning

I was enjoying the scent of lavendar today as I was cleaning, and thought I would share how much nicer it is to do chemical-free cleaning. You see I used to clean with Scrubbing Bubbles and other obnoxious cleaners...gasping for air and opening every window I could fine for fresh breath, while closing every door possible to keep the fumes away from the boys. Then about a year or so ago I realized (after reading many books and online comments) that my home could be cleaned with baking soda, vinegar, hot water and essential oils just as easily as it could with all of those other misc. cleaners.

So that is what I did. Slowly I have gotten rid of all of the cleaning chemicals in my home, including bleach and ammonia. I must say though, in regards to the bleach, I am not an obsessive person with white clothing and other such items that "need" bleaching. I do wish all of the bottoms of my socks were bright white...but not having bleach in the house is way more important to me. Also, 95% of my clothes are I am not majorly invested in whether I have ruined an item. I try to take good care of things, get stains out early, etc. but if not...I can go to the thrift store and buy another item. I am also not finatical about my home being super germ free and overly clean. I like things in order, I like cleanliness...but I don't feel a need to bleach things to make that happen. There are plenty of essential oils (tea tree for one) out there to help with that or I wipe things down with straight rubbing alcohol.

I must say the major benefit to all of this, for me, is it makes cleaning so much simpler. You have so few items to clean with, so there is no thought of "I need the bathroom cleaner, kitchen counter wipes, shower spray, etc.". Plus my home smells so fresh. I love essential oils and how clean they make everything smell. Lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus...they are heavenly! It is amazing to me though how much cleaning you can get done with just a rag and some warm water. Truly...that in itself goes a long way!

Anyway, I hope if you haven't thought of cleaning without chemicals in the past...that this will spark some interest for you. It saves so much money, so much waste from all of those empty bottles, who knows how many health problems, and it really can make cleaning so much more fun. Enjoy finding what combination works best for you.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Toilets vs. T.V.

So, I don't know about you, but my energy peaks in the morning and stays steady until about 3 or 4pm. Then, I just want to veg out. When my husband gets home at 5/5:30 we eat dinner, hang out with boys and then relax for the evening, unless we have other plans. It's all I can do to get the dishes done after dinner. I am just worn out at the end of the day (well I guess that isn't really the end of the day, since we usually don't go to bed until 11 or so.).

Well, the other evening I was sitting in front of the t.v. with S, watching some show that I could care less about and that I knew I wouldn't remember anything about the next day, thinking I should be cleaning the two bathrooms upstairs. But I just couldn't get the motivation to get off of the couch. When my little ones hit the hay for the night...I want "me" time. I want nothing required of me, no responsibilities, I want to soak in the silence and get some much loved R&R. But I had this nagging conviction to get those toilets cleaned. So I'm thinking, toilets/t.v.. toilets/t.v., toilets/t.v. and well, the t.v. won.

I'm not sure why, because most of the time when I watch t.v. (except for Grey's Anatomy-the only show that I faithfully watch-when it isn't reruns) I think to myself "is this really worth my time?, will I even remember what I watched tomorrow?, does any of this really matter?". It perplexes me that I can just sit numb in front it and let time just slip by. It is an easy fix for letting your brain relax, I guess. Well, it seems at the time it is relaxing, because I'm not thinking about anything, but with some of the images on today, and depending on the definitely can have an affect. The 'ole saying "junk in, junk out". I think I just get desensitized over time to the advertising, violence, disrespect, and subliminal messages that I am taking in.

Turning it off in the day, is no problem, as I don't want my children watching it all day. So we rarely have it on except for a cartoon (PBS) here and there. But at night...if S and I are both tired and not motivated...the habit kicks in. I should just go to bed and get some extra sleep, but I would feel bad for leaving S By himself, as he has been gone at work all day. Evenings are when we spend most of our time together. Anyway, at times I would like to just pitch the t.v. and be free of it. But then it is nice to watch movies at home, and I would miss Grey's, S would miss football, I would miss Jack Hannah and E...well he just hits the thing, he doesn't have a favorite show yet.

So, what is the answer...I'm not sure. Balance I guess, like most everything else in this life. Glorious balance...I should just take the 10 minutes to clean the toilets, get it off my mind, and then go veg. But usually it just gets put on tomorrow's "to do" list and I start my energy cycle over again!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Weekly menu

This is something that I have just started in the last few months. I am definitely not as faithful as my sister-in-law, who educated me on the importance of a weekly dinner menu. But I am trying to get a system down and to stick with it. Wow, it does makes life so much easier!

Usually at the beginning of the new week, Sunday for me (as that is our Sabbath and we usually relax as a family on that day), I spend some time going through the fridge, freezers and cupboards and look for what food we have available. From there I try to plan meals. Each meal typically includes a protein and a vegetable. Sometimes we have bread or fruit also. But I at least make sure we have a protein and a veggie. Our family of four, myself, my husband, a four year old, and a nine month old eat on an average weekly budget of $40. Typically I go to the store (Aldi, Sam's, or what is on sale at Kroger) every two weeks or so, sometimes every three weeks and stock up on the necessities. From there, I try to be creative and feed us from what I have purchased.

Here is a sample of what our weekly menu may look like...

chicken (a whole roasted chicken cut in pieces), mashed potatoes and steamed cabbage
turkey burgers, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with cheese
spinach quiche, cottage fried potatoes w/onion and bread w/honey or jam
baked fish, brown rice and brussel sprouts
tuna noodle casserole and zucchini

We also have a garden right now, so that helps with the zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, and spinach.

We are beginning to live a different life than we did several months ago. Before I had my second son, I was a huge coupon addict. We ate from what I had coupons for the majority of the time and I got tons of free health and beauty items, paper products and just all kinds of misc. stuff. Then I had E and realized that shopping with a four year old and a nine month old by myself, with coupons, was too stressful for me. I also started to evaluate how much time I was spending cutting coupons, organizing them, running from store to store and organizing my stockpile. But the thing that really changed my mind, was the fact that what I was buying was packaged, processed, chemical filled, and not what I wanted my family to put in their bodies. So, now I am trying to buy healthy foods, with little packaging, and really evaluate what I am putting in my body. I want to be an example for my boys and to teach them while they are young how good healthy food can taste.

Breakfast around here usually consists of oatmeal, eggs & toast, whole wheat pancakes with fruit, sometimes waffles (not so good for you!) in the waffle maker ( I haven't found a whole wheat recipe that won't stick to our waffle maker), or I regularly like to have what my mom calls a "monkey shake" which is milk, whey protein, frozen banana, & peanut butter in the blender. Mmmm yummy!!! I could eat breakfast foods for every meal!

Lunch around here looks like a lot of peanut butter sandwhiches (my homemade whole wheat bread, natural pb, and honey), spaghetti and carrot sticks (S doesn't like red sauce, so we don't eat spaghetti for dinner), tuna noodle casserole, dinner leftovers, homemade pizza, or quiche and toast.

I do have a book that I use that has my favorite recipes, a list of meals that I know our family likes ( so I have something to pull from if my memory goes blank), and substitution lists (which I live by). This came about as I have found recipes that we really like and as I have tweaked recipes to meet our needs (trying to eat little white flour or sugar).

We are pretty basic people, trying to live the best we know how for today. I hope I learn more tomorrow, and the next day, that will change our lives and others for the better.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cloth diapering

As I mentioned before, I cloth diaper my nine month old son and have since he was about 3 weeks old. It has been a wonderful experience! I actually thought about cloth diapering my four year old when he was a baby, but I used store bought prefolds that leaked horribly. So needless to say, I got very discouraged and didn't continue. Then a friend of mine got me interested again when she began to cloth diaper her little one with diapers that her sister had used on her little ones. She recommended as a site to check out...and ever since I have been hooked. Before my little one was born I spent hours on that site trying to figure out how best to launder them, where to purchase them and so on. I ended up trading with a mama on their for the majority of my MotherEase diapers. Which is what most of my stash is made of. I also posted a wanted ad on Freecycle (more on Freecycle later) and had mamas give me diapers, wool covers and cloth wipes. People are truly generous and blessed me beyonf belief. I also traded with a mama on freecycle for some boys clothes that I had for her dipes. So I ended up with a stash of about 26 dipes in all, six MotherEase wraps, three wool covers and one crocheted cover. The total cost for everything was $110.00. The dipes that I have are one size and fit from 8-35 lbs. So the plan is that they will last me until E is potty trained.

As you can see cloth diapering has been so modified over the years. It no longer has to involve prefolds and pins. Altough that still is an option, I used snap style dipes. They have velcro closures also. I chose cloth diapering to save money and to try and help the environment. The only downside that I see to cloth is that my son has a very strong ammonia smell to his urine. So he does smell quite often (my sister says like a litter box at times!). But for me, his cuteness overrides the smell...and I'd rather change him every hour due to smell then have to buy disposables. It is such a relief not have to spend that money and have that diaper trash. We rarely ever have more than one large trash bag full of garbage a week. With disposable dipes I think it would be a lot more.
I enjoy doing laundry and household chores, so to me the extra laundry is no biggie. I wash dipes every three days or so. I use All Free & Clear right now, but am going to make my own laundry detergent ( thanks to Rhonda Jean) when it is gone. In the meantime, they go in little plastic trash cans with lids that lock on the sides. I have one upstairs in E's room and one in the laundry room on the first floor. I do a hot wash cycle and usually two rinses and then hang them on the line outside to dry and get bleached by the sun. The ME covers get hung to dry as well (I never put them in the dryer). My wool covers get hand washed with a Sudz 'n Dudz organic wool wash bar ( I only bought a sample piece and it has lasted me for nine months!) which works wonderfully! Then I hang them to dry, preferably on the line outside also to get some fresh air. I really enjoy my wool and was so blessed by a freecycler. She gave me numerous wool pieces including longies (covers with legs) and shorties (a cover that fits over the dipe with no legs). They work wonders for letting a baby's bum get some air, since it is a natural fiber. They are lovely because most of the time you just air them out to dry.
I wish more people would try cloth diapering and see how enjoyable it can be. The site has been such a blessing to me. I have used it to learn, to swap items, to get recipes, to give and recieve thoughts on frugal living and healthy living. The mamas there seem so nice! The world would be saved of so much trash if people would make this one simple change. Also, it can save you so much money. Especially if you trade, or buy items that are used. I will look forward to the day my little one gets potty trained, but will be so sad to see my cloth dipes go.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Letting others control our time

So an incident the other got me thinking about how other people can control your time if you let them. I was focused and working on some prospecting calls for work when I got a call to see a property (I am a Realtor) and immediately I began trying to reconfigure my day to meet the needs of this buyer. Yes, this is pretty typical in my business, but I am usually pretty good about maintaining my schedule and working clients in to fit what I already have planned. So I begin rushing around, getting impatient with the boys, taking my focus off of the task that I was focused on and so on. Then it got me thinking...why am I letting someone else control my schedule? Why am I freaking out to make things work for this person because they are in a hurry? I guess this is one of things that goes along with my line of work...but it got me thinking big picture.

We can in life react to situations and make ourselves miserable due to the emergencies that other's create from their lack of planning, the need for immediate gratification, selfishness, etc. Part of being a good steward , in my opinion, is using my time wisely, planning, having a peaceful life that isn't all jumpy and last minute with things. I am definitely a person who appreciates a plan and knowing what my schedule will look like for this day, this week, even this month. I don't like feeling rushed and unorganized. I understand that at times it is good to be spontaneous and go by the seat of your pants. But I think if you are like that most of the time it leads to chaos, overspending, overconsumption, and so many other feelings/actions that do not result in joy or good stewardship.

One thing that drives me wild, but I am not sure really how to manage is when people are late. To me, tardiness is one of the most selfish actions you can take. It shows that the person thinks that their time is more valuable than the others, that their lack of planning is acceptable and that they find is acceptable to ask others to waste their time waiting on them. With clients, I have a 15 minute rule. I wait for 15 minutes after our scheduled appointment time, call them, if they do not answer, I leave. I refuse to wait and wait on people and waste my time. With friends and family, it can be a bit trickier. Fortunately most of my friends and family don't have tardiness issues! I guess my way of managing it would be to quit making plans with the person. Obviously if a person doesn't value your time, they are self absorbed, and who wants to spend time with someone who is self absorbed? Gosh, putting this in writing is making me so much more accountable for being on time!!

The other thing I was thinking of is the social aspect of a woman's life today. Lately I have felt quite a bit of pressure to be social, get the kids with other kids, do things, make the summer "count". Why is it that we do things for the sake of looking good to our peers? Why is it that we let other people teach us how to spend our time, money, and resources? I want to stand up and yell at the top of my lungs for everyone to hear " I LOVE MY SIMPLE LIFE, I DON'T NEED ACTIVITIES TO FILL MY TIME, I DON'T NEED TO SHOP, SPEND MONEY OR GO PLACES...I AM CONTENT, I HAVE THE JOY OF THE LORD, I AM AT PEACE...AND BY THE WAY, CONSUMERISM AND ALL THIS RUNNING AROUND...SUCKS!!!" Okay, that was my, it felt good! I really am quite content to be at home, clean the house, take care of the boys and S, tend to my garden, watch little tv, go few places, spend $40 a week on groceries...make creatove homemade meals with what we have, make my own bread, eat until the cupboards are bare, by used clothes, rarely eat out, save money knowing that the house will be paid off early, hang clothes on the line to dry, and enjoy a peaceful life. Life is good, I am blessed...and I will continue to work on not letting others control my time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The meaning...

So when I think of a good steward, I usually automatically go to my Christian upbringing and thoughts of tithing and being faithful with your money. But in the last few months, I have really begun to think of all that I am responsible for in this life. I need to be a good steward of my time, money, body, relationships, and so much more. It definitely is not just about money.

My search right now is for simplicity and for what really matters. What is life really about? What really is meaningful and worth spending my time and energy on. I have two young boys (four years & nine months) that I am trying to bring up to be God fearing men who love others and will be loving husbands and fathers. When you watch children grow and you realize how short time really is...I guess sometimes you begin to put things in to perspective, or at least try to.

So, I have been focusing on drawing closer to God & seeking him for his direction in my life. I have been trying not to go places, just for the sake of keeping busy. I have been trying to see my job as a homemaker as a true job and doing what I do with excellence. I have been trying to be patient with my boys and see life through their eyes (and needs/wants). I have been trying to not spend money on anything that isn't a necessity. I am making a goal to try and be more of a locavore (which I just learned about recently from a poster on'll write more about this later), eating foods that are locally grown or raised within a 100 mile radius of my home. I am trying not to bring anything into my home that cannot be put on our burn pile (I'm not sure if burning paper & cardboard is being a good steward, let me know if you have any thoughts on this) , or composted in our compost pile, or recycled. Anyway, these are some of the actions that I have taken lately to try and direct my life toward being a good steward.

Monday, July 30, 2007

First Post

Well, this is my first post on my first blog! Yippee! I have wanted to do this for awhile, but just didn't take the time. I read numerous blogs that people so generously take the time to post. So I thought it was my turn to add my thoughts, opinions and hopefully even some help to some one who may read this.

So, my goal with the good stewardship blog is to keep myself accountable to being a good steward and to talk with others about how we together can be better stewards of what we have been so abundantly blessed with. I live in the United States and feel so blessed to live in peace, with no war, no worries about someone telling me where to worship, how to worship, what to wear, eat, etc. Oh, what freedom we have! But we so take it for granted the majority of the time.

So I will contribute my thoughts and such of how I try to keep good stewardship as one of the goals of my life. Please contribute your thoughts...and let's see if we can't do better together!