>The Stuff I Like

>After 10 years of marriage and three kids I have done pretty well narrowing down the products I use in my home.  I used to be really bad.  I would fall for a fancy wrapper, or a classy bottle like a giddy school girl.  Lately, I just want what is cheap and what works.  That can apply to anything home related.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry, car care.  Whatev!

These are my most commonly used products:

1.  Coconut Oil

I am discovering new uses for this stuff by the day.  It is truly amazing.  From cooking, to personal products, it is wonderful.  Find out more about coconut oil here.  Please don’t pay an arm and a leg for it either.  A great source that I have found is Mountain Rose Herbs.  Their prices are great and it is a company that makes you feel like you are purchasing from a store just around the corner.  I love em! (I buy a gallon at a time.)

2.  Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps 

This is a hemp and coconut oil based soap.  It also is a multi-purpose product.  My little Levi has had terrible break outs, and rosy red cheeks since he was a wee babe.  Dr. Bronner’s is the only soap that has kept his skin issues at bay.  There are recipes all over the internet for hair wash, laundry soaps and tooth soaps all containing or simply using Dr. Bronner’s.  One of the best recipes I have is a the multipurpose household cleaner that I got from GroceryShrink.  It costs pennies to make, and if you sign up for her site, she will email you the recipes for free.  Tell her I sent you, and I will blush!

3.  Baking Soda 

Also, very multi purpose and frugalicious.

 

4.  Apple Cider Vinegar

This took some getting used to.  Now, when I smell it I associate it with clean, clean, clean.  I like apple cider vinegar because it is a little less offensive and salad like than white vinegar.  Whatever vinegar you choose, just make sure it comes from a natural source.  Here are some tips on using apple cider vinegar.  I have tried to take it internally.  Ick.  Not quite there yet. I highly recommend it for a personal care product or for cleaning.

5.  20 Mule Team Borax

I use this along with Super Washing Soda and Castile Soap bars to make my homemade laundry soap.  I found it on the Duggar’s website.  If you follow the link, scroll down, it’s there.  Very easy to make.  One five gallon bucket lasts about six months in our house.  The cost is less that three dollars.  Very economical.  I would suggest washing your whites in something else.  They tend to become a little greyish.  But colors and jeans do quite well.

6.  Super Washing Soda

A little tough to find.  So if you can, stock up.  It can also be ordered online.  Or, during the summer go to the pool section in WalMart.  There you can find PH balancing Sodium Carbonate powder.  Same thing.  Remember Sodium Carbonate not BiCarbonate (Baking Soda).  When I run out of dish detergent I use a little of this, Borax and course salt in the dishwasher.  It can be used regularly but I find that after awhile it clouds up my glasses.

7.  Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has natural bleaching and antibacterial properties.  I mix it with a little olive oil to make a furniture cleaner.  Love the smell of lemons.  Way better than vinegar.  Lemons are expensive though.  Dang!  Time to get a tree!

8.  Olive Oil

Olive oil just rocks.  Try out some of these tips on this site.

9.  Essential Oils

My fave is Tea Tree Oil. The healing and antiseptic properties make it a great choice for moms who have to treat lots of cuts and bruises.  Once again Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to find many essential oils.

Well, I better make this a top ten so here goes…

10.  Chocolate

Ahhhhhhh yeah.  (Can’t get enough of your love baby!!)

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>Testing, Testing…Is this thing on???

>Now that I am a country mouse…hang on.  Gotta get the door.

Okay, what is with the guys who sell the frozen meat out of their pick-ups?  I told him we just got a freezer full of meat.  Pig actually.  (More on that later.)

What was I writing about?  See, if you break my concentration….?

Oh yeah.  Now that I am a country mouse, I am kicking around the idea of homeschooling.  Not really kicking it around.  I want to do it.  I have my reasons and I will get into them on another post.  I will leave it at this-who better to make sure that my kids get a QUALITY education than me?  Right now, I feel the best way is the homeschool way.

Today was a test for me.  I printed off a few pages from a website that a kind lady sent me.  She runs the Church Cover School here in Alabama. (AL state law requires that families homeschool under the umbrella of a church school.)  Jacob is taking his high school courses through her.  I picked her brain one morning about preschool curriculum.  She has been a wealth of resources and knowledge.  I also hunted down a few other sites that gave me ideas to go along with the print outs.

My basic plan was to have the kids start out with a little worksheet that worked on shapes and colors.  Three shapes: circles, squares, triangles.  Three colors: blue, red, green.  Then we would go on a nature walk and try to find some found objects to bring home and do a craft with.  I hoped to find a circlular object, a square object, or a triangle shaped object.  Another section was going to be coloring the letter A.  I would tailor a snack around the “a” sound. (Applesauce?)

The best laid plans seem to go right out the window for me.  The kids sat down to color the shapes.  Levi did quite well.  I mainly wanted him to get used to the feel of the crayons, and working with them.  Gideon immediately turned over his paper to the blank side and said “Draw the Incredible Hulk!”  I patiently flipped over the paper and tried to direct him back to the activity.  I asked if he could draw a red Iron Man in the circle, or a green Hulk in the triangle.  He shook his head no and flipped the paper back over.  Normally I would blow up and tell him to do exactly what I said.  Instead, I just observed him.  Soon, he flipped the paper over and scribbled some lines of color in the shapes.  Before boredom set in, I told Gideon I had another coloring sheet for him.  I set it down and he looked at it.  Levi got upset because his paper was different and climbed across the table to grab Gideons page.  I set him back down in his chair and said he had shapes to color.  This set off a waterfall of tears and snot.  He threw his crayons and shouted “UH-UH!!!!”  Hmmmm.  NEXT!

 I grabbed up the offending coloring sheet and brought out two that matched.  The letter A worksheet.  It was a simple page with the letter A and an ant.  Both of the boys scribbled some color on it.  Levi cried a few more tears of frustration.  Like a flash, I was hit with a brilliant idea…Play-doh!  I asked Gideon if he wanted to play with Play-Doh.  Duh!!! Who doesn’t??  I went out into the storage room and found the box with the art supplies.  Inside, I found a bucket of Moon Sand that my co-worker Sheila had given the boys.  It was brand new.  I thought “What the heck…let’s try it.” 
After I opened, it Levi crawled back up onto the table and promptly ate a chunk of the stuff.  I cleaned out his mouth and told him he was too little to play with Moon Sand.  More tears and screaming.  I looked at the clock-  ( geez )  -way past nap time.  Sure enough, after about two minutes of lying on his bed, he was out.

Gideon and I played with the Moon Sand for a few minutes.  I couldn’t get the stuff to do anything.  Gideon just crumbled it in his hands.  I asked Jacob if he knew what Moon Sand was for.  He said it was for putting into molds.  Well, we need to expand our Moon Sand collection I guess.  I went back out and got the Play-doh.  We played for 30 minutes. 

After cleaning up, I put Gideon’s boots on him and zipped up his hoodie.  It was nature walk time. 

“Gideon, we are going on a treasure hunt.  We need to find a circle, a square, and a triangle.  Then we will take them back to the house and do something fun with them.”

We searched high and low.  The only circles we found were tires and the tops of glass jars.  Nothing was square except for a large cement block.  No triangles anywhere.  It was all either too heavy or connected to something.  No dice.

If this is how it’s going to go, how will my kids ever learn?  Why don’t things go as beautifully as I picture them in my mind?  I am starting to wonder if all the homeschool bloggers lie.  Do they just take some pictures and edit stories to make it all fabulous? 

On the positive tip-Gideon and I were outside in the sun.  The boys did an activity together.  They used their hands.  They watched less TV.  All in all, not a bad day.  It ain’t over yet.  Maybe we can do something—-okay I just looked down beside me.  Gideon has fallen asleep, snuggled up.  It is ALL worth it.  Success, failure.  Everything.

>I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire

>My title is a nod to one of the most wonderful set of crooners I know.  The Ink Spots. If you’ve never been introduced, consider this your introduction.  From the first moment I heard them on the Shawshank Redemption soundtrack, I was transported.  I call it my “laundry hangin music”.

In my early twenties I had a vision (the future I wanted) of me on a sunny afternoons.  Hanging my laundry on the line.  A slight breeze blowing my gossamer gown, my sunlit hair tickling my lower back and shoulders.  An open window would carry music on the breeze.  The Ink Spots, Ella, Billie, Count Basie, The Duke…  While this was going on, the man I love would come around the corner and see me basking in the sun.  Doing my wifely duties.  He would come up behind me,throw his arms around my waist, kiss my sunburned shoulders and…whew….is it hot in here?

Speaking of heat.  Let me take the opportunity to introduce you to…

Satan’s Stove.

No joke.  This stove would try the patience of Job.

Oh wait I have a much better view:

 

Now that is more like it.

Before The Move, we asked what kind of appliances were already here.  We had a stove at the the other house.  It had a burner that did not work.  I made do.  The oven and the other three burners worked well.  It was a glass top. I felt a little meh about it.  I like the idea of the glass top.  Not the care and upkeep.  I digress.

My husband asked his step mom about the situation.  She assured us there was a stove.  He asked what kind it was and her response was “Well, it works.”  Red Flag!  Needless to say we said goodbye to our stove and hello to Stovie-Charrer of Doom.

Oh it works.  It works well!  The oven stays in a constant preheat mode .  I have to figure out how long it would take most things to cook on broil, and which rack position will be the least damaging to the food.  One of the burners works okay, but heats one half bright red, the other, sullen black.  The others either don’t come on, or won’t shut off.  That brings us to the best part:

Notice, three knobs for four burners.  When the knob disappeared, I had the darndest time getting the burner to turn off. It was warm to the touch for several hours.  I finally gave up, then came back and it was cold.  The smallish knob is for the oven.  It is quite prone to throwing parts onto the floor. Spontaneously.

Yeah.

One afternoon I was making bread.  The loaves have to go into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, then bump it down to 350 for 30 more minutes.  With Stovie, that means 350 for the first 10 minutes, then 250 for the final bake.  I left the kitchen for the 10 minutes to take a thisquick shower.  I could hear my son saying “What the heck?”  then he knocked on the bathroom door.

“What temperature did you have the stove on?”  I smelled something burning.

“350 like I was supposed to!”

“Well it was at 500 and your bread is burned.”

“WHAT?????  I set that thing at 350!!!!!”

The result was raw on the bottom, charred on the top bread.  My beautiful dough, molested by this agent of the evil one.  I started to think we had a ghost.

Here is another example:

 

This is tonight’s dinner.  Pan fried pork chops.  All cooked in the same pan at the same time, same temp.  Low.  Notice anything?  @#&@#@*!

Once again, my camera is on the back burner ( OH HA HA HA!) because I have to replace the stove.  No gettin around it.