Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Smiles

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentine's Day.  20 years ago today my husband asked me to marry him and I said yes.  We make a big deal out of the day, not so much for our kids but for each other!  This morning as we were starting today and I looked around my crazy bunch I couldn't help but smile and realize how blessed we are.  It's hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since that wonderful day that I said I would commit to him.

20 things that make me smile

1.  Kelly, I'm still happy to be stuck with you...
2.  Josiah - I love you, my big froot loop! :)
3.  Christopher - you are so "dash"-ing
4.  Abby - my "soft" girl
5.  Samuel - you do loud so well
6.  Sasha - I'm so glad you asked me to be your valentine today
7.  Elizabeth - my peanut princess, I love you
8.  the 10 days of Valentine's - our own private tradition, so much fun
9.  the perfect excuse to eat chocolate
10.  a wonderful time to give sentimental mushy notes, cards and lists like this!
11.  a happy, laughter filled breakfast (it's so much nicer when mommy isnt' grumpy)
12.  sugar-loaded breakfast
13.  hazelnut edible oil products that actually make coffee palatable (that one's for you Bill, yes, I had coffee for breakfast this morning)
14.  the much better tasting Honeybee Yerbe Matte tea that followed
15.  laughter, I love to laugh with my kids
16.  pictures - Chris and I took a little run through family history last night, such a good reminder of fun times as a family
17.  real, honest, to goodness hand-written letters, got one last week and I was so blessed!
18.  e-mails from people you've never met in person but feel like friends because somehow your spirit connects over the distance.
19.  I know I mentioned him right off the bat but my honey makes me smile in so many ways I probably can't count them...
20.  My Jesus who made all these things possible.  I give you my heart, this day and every day....

Now...to the dishes....

There's an extra smile.  My poor Sasha has terrible eczema on his hands, with our dishwasher broken down I assigned each of the kids a dish-washing day not thinking how that might affect him.  We were in class last night when he phoned to tell me he couldn't get to sleep because his hands hurt so bad.  My sweet little boy washed all the day's dishes without complaining and was so proud of himself and it didn't dawn on this mommy that she had done him such a disservice.  As I went to wash the dishes after the class I realized why his hands were so sore...water and soap are the worst things you can do for eczema and I subjected him to that.  He didn't complain other than to say that his hands really hurt.  I felt so bad! :(  He's officially off dish-washing duty until his hands heal!  However, he blessed my heart with his sweet attitude and willingness to do the job anyway.  That was a beautiful Valentine's day gift.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Opening Baggage

I am feeling the need to write.  There have been a few things percolating in my spirit and I think I need to set them down so that perhaps they'll make sense and I'll see what God is trying to teach me and perhaps, dear readers, you'll learn something, too.

Yesterday a dear friend posted an interesting status on her facebook account.  She asked us to seriously and honestly consider whether we believe that we are fantastic and blessed.  Since I am in a bit of a cloud lately I had to respond that I didn't feel that I am particularly fantastic, though I do believe I am blessed each and every day.

A few days before that I was looking at a new website that a young friend of mine is constructing to feature her photography.  I have to admit that my first response was, "She thinks she can do that, too?"  She is a very multi-talented young lady and has already achieved much in other artistic endeavours.  The Lord immediately made me realize that, of course she can do that, too.  My response was, "Why, why does she believe she can do it."  His response, "No one has told her that she can't, so she believes and pushes forward."  A brave, young, talented girl who believes she can do whatever she puts her hand to.  Refreshing.

These last few months have been difficult ones because I have been nagged with continual fatigue and a little cloud that follows me around.  I've been finding it hard to motivate myself to get out of bed every morning, to get done the things I need to do and as I get more behind on projects that need my attention I feel worse and worse about myself.  I look at what other people are achieving and my little cloud grows bigger.

Now put all those things together and I can see a little of what's going on in my head, heart and body.
1.  I'm over 40 and things aren't working quite the way they used to...apparently one's hormones get pretty crazy after 40...thought I did all that in adolescence now I get to go for round 2!
2.  My worth is not based on what I can accomplish - I am fantastic simply because God thinks so, He could care less whether I can fold a basket of laundry in less than 5 minutes.
3.  I need to learn how to believe in my abilities so that I will risk putting myself out where people might run into me.  You see, I would really love to go a conference this fall that is for women bloggers/writers.  My dear husband prayed about it and felt that the Lord said I could go but that the money for the conference should come from those who support your writing.  That scared the liver out of me, I pretty much gave up going right there.  I don't write consistently on here - probably because I'm right-brained and I have a hard time sticking to a schedule! :) I would have to believe that people want to read what I write...and yeah, I'd have to write...consistently, trusting that God would draw people to read here.  Facebook took a bite out of us bloggers.  Who wants to read a whole paragraph when you can read just a few words to find out how people are, and who has time?

Anyways, I think the Lord is trying to rid me of a bit of baggage and what-not.  That's all for today.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Laundry Soap Recipe

I've had a few people ask me for my laundry soap recipe, because, yes, I do make my own.  Why do I do this? Am I an over-the-top need to get rid of all the toxins in my house kind of person?  No, though I do like to reduce the number of chemicals my family is exposed to.  Do I like to inflict extra work on myself?  No, the process is a lot easier than most things I do.

bottom line________________I'm cheap, the soap is cheap and well, that's about it.  It works, it's easy on my family's sensitive skin and easy on the pocket book! (and it works in he machines).

first thing you may have to do is collect some appropriate size containers, you'll need a bunch to store it because this makes quite a bit.

1 bar of Ivory Soap (or another pure soap that doesn't have a bunch of extras)
1/2 c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (funny story - I looked in many city stores to find this and located it at none other than our own local store that stocks it regularly - yay for small towns!)
1/2 c Borax
(these are all pure, natural ingredients)

1.  Grate the soap (I use my cheese grater - it's really clean when I'm done! :))
2.  In a large pot heat 6 cups of water and the soap over medium heat until dissolved.
3.  Stir in Borax and A&H until dissolved
4.  Add 4 cups of HOT water, stir.
5.  At this point you can add essential oils or commercial detergent to the mix - I've used some lavender scented oil and I've also thrown whiteners or Oxyclean into the mix.  Totally an optional step.
6.  Add 1 gallon + 6 cups of COLD water.  Stir  (1 gallon = about 8 cups)
7.  Let set without stirring for 24 hours.
8.  It will have the consistency of liquid gel.  STIR it up with a wire whisk.
9.  Pour into jugs with tight lids. Shake it up before using to make sure it's mixed well, especially if it's been sitting for awhile. HE machines use about 1/4 cup per load.

**Apparently my sister's SIL uses this concoction minus all the water with her front-load machine.  I have to use only liquids in my machine so I haven't tried it but it would certainly take up alot less space.  You'd only need about a teaspoon per load.

BTW - I usually double this when I make it...cause we do an insane amount of laundry!  :)