Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Reason...

Happy Birthday, little one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Big News

I just found out about ten minutes ago that I'm pregnant with baby #3!!! I think I'm just shy of a month along but YEAH!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nifty Knitting Needles

I made the top scarf using five different yarns and a new stitch I learned: the drop stitch.
The bottom scarf was made with two yarns and it is soooo soft! It is an adapted version of the top scarf to make a longer, more narrow scarf. These were both made for a friend of mine.

I love gloves!!! This was the bulk of my Christmas knitting (which is now done!!!). The following gloves were made using yarn I got at Goodwill. I gave them as "thank you" gifts this year. I made more but these were the only ones where the pictures turned out well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Real Mastercard Commercial

Cost per year to achieve basic health and nutrition for the entire world: $13 billion

Amount spent on perfumes each year: $12 billion

Clean water for all the world: $9 billion

Amount spent on cosmetics in the US: $8 billion

Basic education for the world’s children: $6 billion

Total amount the US spends on Christmas each year: $450 billion (or 16 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Initial cost of the US Government bailout of failing financial institutions: $700 billion (or 25 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Coming to grips with the alarming disconnects of our consumerist society: Priceless

By Jim Moss

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rolo Pretzels

A friend was gracious enough to let me post on her recipe blog even though I am probably the farthest thing away from a cook (unless its for my pumpkin party). If you like salt, chocolate, and caramel then you should check out Connecting Kitchens. In fact, you should check out the other recipes on the site...I believe it is cookie week. Tasty!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Composting Toilet

I am always trying to find the next thing I want to "green" in our house. So far we've done everything from insulating the house to adding a toilet tank sink (I'll save the last one for a future post). I think I have found my next "green" item: a composting toilet.

Okay, okay...I know what you're thinking: GROSS!

Let me lay out my plan for you...

Eventually we want to take our master bathroom and cut it in half. We want to keep a very small bathroom connected to our room but make the other half a laundry/mud room that you access through the living room. Sounds great, right? Wrong...we would have to re-plumb the entire space just to move the toilet. That's where the composter is genius: no pipes, you just plug it in.

As I understand it, 90% of what goes in the toilet, leaves as water vapors and gasses. You're probably thinking about how stinky that sounds...but it gets better. Composting toilets rely on micro organisms and a heater to quickly deal with material. And as a bonus, it has a fan to propel all of those vapors and gases out the vent. Apparently, if your composting toilet stinks, something is wrong.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Liam: the 25 pound baby explained this is what I've been doing wrong with Liam...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Homemade laundry soap results

I have now done several loads using my homemade laundry soap....and I love it!!! I decided to go with the dry mix (didn't have to worry about a two gallon bucket) and made a double batch. Grating the soap was the hardest part but when all was said and done, it only took five minutes to throw together (that counts the grating of the soap).

My clothes come out as clean as when I used commercial soap but they are much softer (and we don't even use dryer sheets...more on that later). Isaiah tends to have sensitive skin but he has been fine (we even did some of his blankets and sheets). I'm still going to buy commercial soap for the cloth diapers but I am doing some research on diaper friendly homemade soap. I would love to hear if you made any laundry soap and any tips/tricks/comments you might have.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Stranger

"A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors-- Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I: would often laugh or cry as I watched.

He was Iike a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn' t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up-- while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places-- go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-- not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt 1ike we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes sugestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger,

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We always just called him TV."

-Told by Keith Currie

Monday, December 1, 2008

Make your own laundry soap

I had a friend over for breakfast the other morning and we got to talking. She told me that she makes her own laundry soap for about seventy-one cents and it lasts for sixty-four loads. That works out to a little over a penny a load! I am going to try the recipe this week...I'll update you on how it works but until then, here's the recipe:

1/3 bar of Ivory, Zote, or Fels Naptha soap, grated

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

1/2 to 1 ounce of essential oils for fragrance (optional)


~ small bucket, about 2 gallon size ~

Place grated soap in a saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel (not a solid gel, more of a watery gel). You use 1/2 cup per load.

**I am not planning on using my homemade laundry soap on my cloth diapers. I'm afraid that the borax might ruin the covers. Anyone have thoughts about this?

The Math

Fels Naptha: $1.12 for a 5.5 oz bar. The recipes says use a 1/3 of a bar. I calculated 2 oz. just to make the math a little easier. The cost of the Fels Naptha per batch is: .40 cents

Washing Soda: $2.23 for a 55 oz. box. This came to .17 cents per batch. I calculated how much per oz (2.23 divided by 55) and then weighed a half cup of washing soda (4.2oz.) and multiplied my per oz. price by 4.2

Borax: $3.27 for a 76 oz. box. This came to .14 cents per batch. Did the same calculations as above, however a 1/2 cup of borax weighs 3.5 oz.

For the final numbers I have .40 + .17 + .14 = .71 for 2 gallons of laundry detergent.