Archive for October, 2008

Fluoride

October 29, 2008

Do you use fluoride in your home?  Do you know it is in most toothpastes, as well as half of the country’s water systems?  Did you know that fluoride is linked to health problems including kidney damage and cancer? 

We don’t use it in our homes.  I knew it was in toothpastes.  I didn’t know it is linked to health problems.

I have stopped using toothpaste.  I will either just use a wet toothbrush, or I will wet my toothbrush, then dip it in baking soda.  Sound gross?  It is not that bad, and I actually have better breath now too.  Odd…what was making my breath bad when I was using toothpaste?  Well, I haven’t researched it yet, but I am going to conclude for now that it is one of the chemicals in tooth paste.

Thoughts?

Five Hour Stew

October 28, 2008

This is the best and most easy stew I have ever made.  I don’t have a picture of it right now, but wanted to post the recipe for you.

Five Hour Stew

1 1/2 lbs stewing beef (I use diced lean stew beef from the meat counter)
1 can peas and the juice
3-4 carrots, cut up (I use whatever amount of baby carrots I feel would make 3-4 carrots)
1 can tomato soup
3-4 potatoes, diced (I leave the skin on)
1/4 med. onion, chopped (I’ve used a whole onion before and that works too.)
Salt
Pepper
Put meat in casserole; add potatoes, carrots, peas, and onion.  Pour tomato soup over everything in casserole.  Put on salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 5 hours at 250 degrees.

ENJOY!!!

Muffin Tin Tuesday

October 28, 2008

Here is our Muffin Tin Tuesday lunch:

The top row from left to right:  apples, vanilla yogurt and risotto

The bottom row from left to right:  potato soup, lemon chicken pasta, and celery

She at the apples, lemon chicken pasta, vanilla yogurt and risotto.  She didn’t even touch the potato soup, except to remove one potato.  She tasted the celery, but fed the rest to me.  This is the first time I have offered celery to her.

I am really liking Muffin Tin Tuesday.  It is a good way to give her a variety and it is fun for me to put together.  It hardly takes any time at all.

Any ideas for next week?

Green Cleaning

October 28, 2008

I’ve been converted to green cleaning for a few months now.  It is so cheap to clean green.  No more being halfway through cleaning and running out of a cleaner.  No more long lists of cleaners to buy.  No more standing in the cleaner aisle wondering what to buy.  Do I need them all?  Why so many different cleaners for the same thing?  Is it really necessary to have a different cleaner for every area of my house?  What is that ‘clean’ smell I smell after I clean?  Is it clean if it doesn’t smell?  Are they really that safe to use in my home and around children?  Why do I feel like I have to wear gloves and scrub my hands after I touch even the outside of the bottle?  Why do I have to keep them on the top shelf on my cabinet locked up?  Why does the doctor give me poision control stickers to put on my cleaners, but they are suppose to be safe for me to use in my home?  Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  If you haven’t, then it is time!!!

I just started asking myself these questions, and then I started cleaning green.  What does it mean to clean green.  Well, for starters it means ditching all or most of the conventional cleaners you have now in your cabinets.  Please don’t just throw them away, that pollutes our environment as much as you them will.  I encourage you to find someone who is still using conventional cleaners and give them to that person.  I still have a box of these cleaners in my home that I have offered to people, but you know what is happening?  People may take one of two of them, but then they say, “I don’t want any of those.”  Now, these are conventional products that most people use in their homes, so why the decline of free products?  Well, it could be in part because I am always talking about how horrible they are and how bad they are for the environment, but I think it is just people themselves being more educated on the topic.

One excuse (and I’ll call it an excuse, because that is exactly what it is) I hear all the time for continuing to use conventional cleaners is, “I don’t have the time to change everything over.”  Well, it does take a little time, but you don’t have to change everything at once.  Change one thing at a time.  For example, I just add baking soda to my laundry for the first time today.  I made a mark on a glass cup so I always have the perfect measurement and no more excuses not to just do it.  You just have to do it at your own pace.  Even changing one cleaner to a green cleaner will decrease your indoor air pollution.  By the way, indoor air is 5-10 times more polluted than the air outdoors. 

Another excuse (and again I’ll call it an excuse, but usually it is a lack of facts on the person’s part) is that it costs more to clean green.  I have to put that to rest right now.  Sure you can buy some really expensive green cleaners, but you can also buy some really expensive conventional cleaners.  You have to do a little price comparison shopping like anything else you would buy.  So, if you are changing over one cleaner at a time, just add that cleaner to your shopping list and cost compare at that time. 

I don’t use a lot of green cleaners.  What I use for most of my cleaning is baking soda and distilled white vinegar.  They are easy to keep stocked in your cabinet.  You don’t have to worry about your child(ren) getting into them.  They are gentle to most surfaces and are easy to experiment with.  They are also very cheap.  A little goes a long way.

I have been experimenting with different applications for baking soda and distilled white vinegar and here are a few that work well and I like so far.

Toilet cleaning:  Pour 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar into your toilet bowl and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  Then, just scrub your toilet with your scrub brush.  You should do this weekly to maintain it.

Deodorizing and freshening laundry:  Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the washing machine with the water and clothes and let it begin to agitate for a few mintues.  Shut off the machine and let the clothes soak for a few hours or overnight, then add detergent and continue to wash as normal.  This is really good for new clothes or bedding because it will get rid of the formadlehyde that is put on your clothes and bedding to keep them wrinkle free in the stores.  By the way, formadlehyde is a known caricogen (meaning it is known to cause cancer).

Wet carpet stains:  Pour baking soda on stain and allow it to sit for awhile.  Scoop up what you can, then vacuum the rest up.  Make sure it is no longer wet, otherwise you could damage your vacuum or get an electric shock.  Ouch!  I used this application when our daughter knocked over a plant.  I just threw baking soda on the wet, icky pile of dirt and water.  I let it sit overnight and then scooped up what I could and vacuumed the rest up.  I was so amazed at how clean it was!  I didn’t even have to scrub. 

Washing floors:  Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with with 1 cup water and wash your floors.  It works well.  At first it took me a little bit to get used to the smell, but now I actually like it.

Washing windows:  Wash windows with vinegar.  If you get streaks, it is because your conventional cleaner left wax on the window.  Don’t abandon this application yet, just wash the wax off with soap and water, then try the vinegar again.

Hardwater deposits:  Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar and gently scrub around your facuets to get the hardwater deposits off.  You can also use a wet rag dipped in vinegar and let it soak around the area and then the deposits should just wipe away.

I have bought a vegetable based cleaner to clean my kitchen counters, but I usually just use soap and water and sometimes vinegar.  The vegetable based cleaner did work wonders at degreasing the top of my refrigerator.  You know that nasty grease yuck that forms on top of the refrigerator and mixes with dust?  Well, I just sprayed the vegetable based cleaner on and let it sit for 5-10 minutes and had to apply a tiny bit of elbow grease, but overall was very easy to work with.

I have also bought non-toxic window cleaner and it leaves streaks.  I have not yet washed my windows with soap and water, but I plan to in the spring.  For now, I would rather have streaks then toxic windows.  Hey, my daughter puts her open mouth right on the glass so I’m not chancing it.  My MIL uses vinegar on her windows (and has since they built their home) and she has no streaks on her windows.

I use Seventh Generation brand liquid dish soap.  I buy it at Super Target, but I’m sure you can get it other places as well.  I recommend the ‘Free and Clear’ version of it.  It is free of perfumes and dyes.  Seventh Generation discloses all of its ingredients on its label.  This is always a sign of a good product for you and your home.  I price compared the other day and it is actually cheaper than conventional brands like Dawn, etc.

I have purchased Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, but have yet to use it.  We are still working our way through the conventional dishwasher detergent we bought a year ago.  I cringe everytime I use it.  Just a few more loads and then we will be using Seventh Generation from here on out in our dishwasher.

I am currently using the Shaklee brand of laundry detergent.  I am loving it.  I started to use the 32 oz bottle a month or so ago and I still have 3/4 of it left.  It is so concentrated that you only have to use a little per load.  I use a capfull and that seems to get everything clean.

As for fabric softener, I ditched the dryer sheets a few months back.  I haven’t been using anything to soften our clothes and so far so good.  There are some natural things you can do to soften your clothes.  You can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash cycle to soften the fabric.

I’ll leave you with this…

*  Don’t be overwhelmed!

*  Do a little at a time!

*  Habits are hard to break, so cut yourself some slack!

*  Leave me a comment or a question and I will respond in a timely manner!

I encourage you to do some of your own research, but if you don’t have time or don’t know where to start, I’d be happy to help.  I am still learning too and am by no means an expert.  Also, please visit this site:  http://healthychild.org/blog.  I have learned so much from this site.  It is empowering!

Happy Green Cleaning!

P.S. Spell check hates me today, so here is the post with spelling errors and all.  You know I’m impatient.  🙂

Stashes and Fudgy Brownies

October 27, 2008

Do you have any stashes?  We do…we stock up on toilet paper and Kleenex like they are discontinuing it or something.  Just look at these pictures…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little much don’t you think?????  Just curious if this is normal…whatever normal is!?!?

Anyway, I made Fudgy Brownies last night and just had to share the recipe.  They are so easy to make and only take one pot and pan to make.  This is my kind of brownie.  Also, they are chewy and not hard and crunchy.  Right up my alley.  If you’re looking for a little chocolate getaway, then make these yummy beauties.

Fudgy Browines
3/4 cup butter
3 (1oz) squares unsweetened chocolate (I used Giradelli chocolate in the baking section)
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
Melt butter and chocolate together in medium saucepan over a medium heat.  (I stirred it now and then so it wouldn’t scorch.)  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Bake in greased 8×12 pan for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  (I use a 9×13 cake pan and mine take a little longer to bake…just keep checking until center is semi-firm.) 

Here are some photos while I was cooking…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, it looks like this right before you put it in the pan.  It is so yummy!  Give them a try!

Phthalates

October 26, 2008

Don’t know what that word means?  Don’t know what it is?  Well, phthalates are found in plastics as well as body care products.  Phthalates can cause organ system toxicity, damage to the endocrine system, reproduction and fertility harm, birth or development effects, they are persistent and bioaccumulative (meaning they stay in your body and accumulative over time, usually in fat), harm the brain and nervous system and damage your immune system (including sensitization and allergies). 

The big thing with the holidays coming up is that toy makers need to sell all their toys that contain phthalates.  Why you ask?  Well, three types of phthalates will be banned from children’s toys and child-care products starting February 10, 2009.   Also, three other types of phthalates will be temporarily prohibited from childcare products and toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth.  I don’t know why they will only be temporarily prohibited, but sounds scary doesn’t it.  The toy sellers have a grace period that allows them to sell the toys that still contain these nasty toxins and that means that you will probably see a lot of ‘bargains’ this holiday season.  Don’t fall for it!!! 

So, please educate yourself about phthalates.  Don’t just take my word for it.  A great site to use for your research is http://healthychild.org/blog.  I have learned so much from this blog and this is also where I signed up for my upcoming Home Health Party. 

By the way, spell check picks out phthalates as a misspelled word…hmmm…  Does the Bush administration run spell check too?!?!

Lunch Rut

October 24, 2008

We are in a lunch rut here and new some suggestions.  This was lunch the other day…

I guess I’ll stick to the original size of the photosfrom now on.  Anyway, we have been having a lot of quesdillas (I know the spelling is wrong, but for the life of me I can’t seem to be able to spell it right now) lately.  The picture above also has sweet potato fries.  What do you make for lunch?  I’m just sick of the homemade mac and cheese, quesdillas, Bernie O’s and leftovers.  Any other creative ideas?

New Slippers

October 24, 2008

Just had to post these….

They are my new slippers.  I bought them for $7.00 at the resale shop the other day.  They are Lands End brand ‘seconds,’ although I can’t find anything visibly wrong with them.  They look like something that Mrs. Claus would wear don’t they!?!? 

Anyway, I feel like an old lady getting excited about slippers, but they are so comfortable and it beats wearing socks around the house.  We have been trying to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees and although that may seem warm to some, without the summer humidity it is actually just comfortable.  What temp do you keep your house at during the Fall and Winter months?

Here is a side view on them.  They are so comfy and warm.  Do you wear slippers around the house? 

I just want to curl up with some hot chocolate and sit in front of the fireplace.  Hmm, if only I had the ingredients to make hot chocolate, and there is that other problem of not having a fireplace.

Stay warm!

Peasant Blouses

October 24, 2008

I am hooked on making peasant blouses.  Help, this is a problem!  I need to buy things to get these projects going and it is addictive.  I have some fabric now and some thread, but not the right colors of thread.  Must stock up on thread.  Is anyone else addicted to sewing?  I absolutely am loving it, but it is costing money and money that is a little tight right now with the economy. 

Anyway…peasant blouses.  They are easy to make and fun.  They do take about 2 hours though for a beginning sewer and that is after you have your pattern cut out and your sewing machine all set up.  I usually try to get my sewing done during naps, or at night after our daughter is in bed.  Good luck carving out some time for yourself.  It is not always easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got this material from my mom and to be totally honest at first I thought it was pretty ugly and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  Well, the tutorial that I followed from Just Tutes (http://indietutes.blogspot.com/) said to not use your best fabric first, so I pulled out this stuff and thought, “perfect.”  Well, it ended up turning out really good!  I was impressed!  My husband was impressed!  Just can’t stop patting myself on the back.  I really do like the flowers on it now too.  Our daughter is really into flowers right now too, so it is perfect.  The only thing that isn’t perfect is that it is in the 50’s here now and will be in the 50’s or lower for the next 6-7 months….um…timing on light weight blouse is not the best, but so cute.  Very easy to make for a learning sewer.  Seriously I have only been sewing for 2 weeks now and I can do it…you can too.

I made a pattern out of a paper bag as Just Tutes suggested on her blog.  It worked wonderfully.  I just cut out an old paper bag in a size 2T and followed the directions.  The first blouse above took me quite a while and I emailed Just Tutes for some clarification on the elastic.  I was really impressed with the final project though and was ready to go for round two.

So, I cut out that brown fabric that I posted the other day with the pink polka dots.  I was all ready to go when my husband said, “Shouldn’t you use dark brown thread for that shirt.  If you don’t I think it will look bad.”  Ohhhh, he was right again.  Damn observant husbands.  He really wanted me to put my sewing away at that point and give him a little attention before bed…sounds bad, but I assure you he just wanted to watch TV with me.  So, there it sits all cut out and waiting patiently to be made into a peasant blouse.

Luckily, I was able to find some light colored fabric that I was able to use the light thread on that I currently have.  I wasn’t sure about this fabric either and it is another freebie from my mom.  She has good taste, but I just didn’t realize it at first.  Naughty me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll have to forgive the dim light in the pictures.  My counter is the only space that I use to take the pictures on, so they’ll have to do I guess.

Well, I want to get more done and patterns cut out before little one wakes up from her slumber.

P.S. Family:  Any unused fabric you have laying around…don’t forget about me.

Muffin Tin Tuesday

October 21, 2008

Today we tried the muffin tin meal that is all the craze.  Here is a picture of ours…

The top row from the left:  homemade sweet potato fries, hard-boiled egg, and granola.

Bottom row from the left:  vanilla yogurt, raisins, and mixed veggies.

She choose to dip the sweet potato fries into the yogurt.  The hard-boiled egg ended up getting one taste and then being tossed to the side.  The granola she usually eats, but set that aside as well.  The raisins she is so hot and cold with…one day she loves them, then next she doesn’t.  The raisins…on the floor.  The mixed veggies she ate most of. 

She was so tired, so hopefully she ate enough to get a good nap.  We’ll do this again next Tuesday.  I thought it would take a lot of thought, but it was really easy to find healthy choices.  I think I may only fill 4 of the muffin cups next Tuesday and see if she eats a little better.

Time to go do some hand-stitching.  I’m stitching some decorative buttons onto an apron for my niece’s birthday in November.  You know how I like to be prepared.