Monday, June 23, 2008


Nik is coming...YAAAAY! Nik is coming for his Summer visit from June 29th through July 13th. We are so excited for him to get here and I'm especially excited for Brandon to come and stay with us while he's here. They are my entertainment! More news on what will be going on but I couldn't wait to tell everyone....NIK IS COMING! YEAAAAAAY!

Fresh smelling house...

I admit that one of the biggest adjustments, for me, with green cleaning is that I no longer had the familiar smells of a clean house; heavy pine scent, bleach, clorox, etc. Instead, after the intially faint smell of vinegar the first hour, I smell...well, nothing. So when I came across these homemade and safe recipes for room freshners, I thought I would share. Again, they are courtesy of Care2 website but I couldn't wait to share:

This couldn’t-be-easier recipe makes enough for five cups of mist, enough to share with a friend. Use liberally on non-staining surfaces or simply spray upward in the center of the room, being sure to avoid contact with eyes.

Use an eyedropper to place the following in a small glass jar with a lid (a baby food jar is ideal)–
20 drops sweet orange essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix well. To use, add 4-8 drops of this base to one cup of purified or distilled water in a spray bottle, shaking to mix. Store in a cool, dark place.

Spicy Summer Potpourri

This potpourri looks lovely set out in a bowl, or stored in little potpourri bags.

Base: a combination of any or all of the following, thoroughly dried–
orange peel, marigolds, chrysanthemums, lavender, asters, Queen Anne’s lace, star anise seeds, cinnamon powder or sticks, whole or powdered cloves

Oil scents: a few drops each–
Sweet orange essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Clove essential oil

Sprinkle dried base with oils and mix well. Refresh base with a few drops of oil whenever needed.

Vanilla Odor Remover

The vanilla bean has properties that reduce odors! Try this super-easy trick for removing smells you don’t want:

1 to 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

Just put the vanilla in a small cup anywhere you want air freshening.

Summery Stovetop Freshener

Mint is a wonderful freshener that gives an uplifting feeling to the atmosphere. You can use either fresh or dried mint in this formula.

A handful of mint leaves
8 cups of water

Combine all the ingredients in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Replace the liquid when needed as it evaporates.

Cinnamon Trick

I have a small terra-cotta pot filled with ground cinnamon sitting near my desk. I get wafts of the sweet fragrance all day long.

Non-toxic homemade Cleaning recipes...

So here are the recipes and supplies that I use for housekeeping. It's handy, cheap and easy to make up. I've taken these instructions from the Care2 healthy and green living website. If you want more information on stain removers, air freshners, etc., please take a moment and visit their website-lots of really great info and tips. And..sorry if this sounds a bit to much like a "green" commercial :)Here it is:

Baking soda
Washing soda
White distilled vinegar
A good liquid soap or detergent
Tea tree oil
6 clean spray bottles
2 glass jars

Read more about these 5 basic cleaning ingredients, and a vinegar update.

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.


Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Busy in the hood...

Neighborhood, that is. I can't believe how busy it's been at Our House lately! I mean, I thought when Eric's cousin left that things would really slow down but they haven't! I have to say that it's all because of our neighborhood. Ever since the neighbor girls have been babysitting Reilly (super cute girls ages 12 and 14), they stop by at least once a day to play with Reilly or visit with me. I've gotten to know their mom, Mary, pretty well and sometimes find myself at their house visiting as well.

Rueben and Gloria are across the street with the daughter, Kathy (who is an adult daughter with Down's Syndrome) and we visit and check on eachother often. Reuben was actually the "welcome wagon" when I came to the neighborhood.

Recently, I've started walking with Millie (who lives two houses down and lost her husband to cancer last November) and Gail who lives at the end of the street next to Mary. Most of the time, the babysitters come over in the evening to let me know the "gang" is leaving for the evening walk and always ask me to bring Reilly in the stroller-which I'm happy to do because Reilly really loves her walks..and I mean LURVS her walks :)

Between work, Reilly, neighborhood visits and evening walks...things have really kept moving around here! Not to mention I've lost another 5 pounds walking 2-4 miles in the evenings!

Memorial Weekend we got invited to a bbq at the Mary's and just this afternoon Millie brought by her special eggplant parmesan (yum!) and stuffed peppers for me to try. I'm..uh...starting to get spoiled with all this food and babysitters that live across the street!

Anyways, I just had to say...I'm really getting to like our little street and how connected it feels. I think I'm going to have to make a "do not disturb" sign for the front door though. Just in case I need to "take 5."

Green Cleaning...

I have to say I love it! In case I haven't mentioned it, I chucked all the home cleaning products I had been using (what was left of it)and went green cleaning a few months ago. A few spray bottles and some basic ingredients (baking soda, washing soda, liquid detergent, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice)and I was off and running. I pulled out the cleaning bin yesterday and rolled up my sleeves to do some housekeeping and discovered that I had run out of my multi purpose cleaner. It was soooo awesome to skip the trip to store and just whip up a new batch. Also, I found a great homemade furniture polish just using olive oil and lemon juice! Worked like a charm. Not only do I not have to throw away plastic bottles, paper towels, polish wipes and harmful chemicals-but it's safe to have around Reilly and way cheaper too! Yeah for green cleaning!

Dog and other monologues...

So Reilly's vocab continues to grow. Much to my delight, she pointed to Shadow (one of the castle hounds) and said, "" Yeah! It's delightful to see her list of words growing and I can't believe how many she has added this week. So far we have "baby," "mama," "dada," "mo(re)," "hiiiii," "bu-bu," (bye-bye) "na-na," (no)and I've also heard her say the names of the two little girls who babysit and are here to play with her almost everyday (they live across the street) as well as the "p" sound for "up." Her list of signs are growing too! She can sign for milk, all done, more and book. We're working on Cheerios and cheese right now. Now if I can just get her walking...!