Saturday, June 28, 2008

Home Made Dishwashing Detergent

Pin It Now! I have been searching high and low for a recipe like this. Found it, I believe, here. Lots of great tips on that blog!

This detergent is so easy to make, and only calls for 3 ingredients!!!

Here's what you need:

*1 cup baking soda

*1 cup borax

*2-3 TBSP unsweetened lemonade or citric acid. (My slightly obsessed friend said she saw just plain citric acid at Sprouts, our local health food store.)

**Just mix and use about 2 TBSP per load.

I have used it now for about 4 loads of dishes, and it seems to be working just fine. I've got one of those "wash before you wash" dishwashers, so my dishes don't go in with big chunks of food left on them. Don't know how this home made detergent would do on unrinsed dishes. Anyway, I like it--it's a keeper!

Facebook Family

Pin It Now! I know, I know, I am always last to join in on any kind of new technology, but finally I have joined facebook.

I am known for shying away from anything that requires a lot of reading where following instructions is involved, especially if it is something on the Internet. I get this strange sort of nagging feeling that I am just one key away from accidentally selling my soul or something crazy like that!

But, I guess it was about time for me to shed my status as an amoeba concerning all things computery. I think I have at least evolved into an earthworm.

I keep telling myself that I have to at least try to keep up for my kids' sakes. As long as Daddy's around, I know there is nothin' to worry about, though!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

When Royalty Pays a Visit

Pin It Now! Princess Shiloh and Princess Kaiya graced my presence today. These 2 beauties are only 6 months apart, but Shiloh is so much taller!!

The princesses had so much fun posing for the camera, but mine wanted to give me the "I am so much trouble" look.
Wonder who she got the pouty pose from?

Oh my gracious--Is this not heart-melting? I didn't put her up to it either.

"Shiloh, don't put your toys in your mouth." "But mommy, I Popeye."
Nice, just what I need--a princess who smokes a pipe!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, The Classics!

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Shiloh played her first game of Candy Land with mommy today! That little stinker beat me twice!!

Is there any one who hasn't played this all time favorite board game? I remember playing it as a kid, and now I have played it with all of my kids. I am thinking about getting all sentimental and saving it so I can one day play it with my grand kids.

Board games are a family favorite around here, and right now the boys are in to playing CLUE with Daddy. Mark and I used to play the video version of CLUE when we were dating. That was a fun game--I wonder if they have it on DVD, now? It would be much too complicated for the boys, now, but maybe in a few years?

Board games really do bring families together, don't they? Let me pause while I wipe the tear from my eye.

In all seriousness, do you have great board game memories you would like to share? Let the nostalgia begin!!

*My grandpa and I used to play SORRY! when I was a little girl. Those were fun times!

*My friend, Sara, and I would play Master Mind for hours on end.

*I loved playing Parcheesi with my mom as a kid, and as an adult, I love to play Boggle with her. If she just weren't so darn good at it!!

*I absolutely loved the game, TABOO, and would play it with any group I could get my hands on.

*Life was always a family favorite. Boy, has that game had a makeover! We bought the game to play with our kids, and I must say it is a wee bit different.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And Liquid Gold Fell From the Sky

Pin It Now! Well, actually it was just water. But you would have thought it was pure gold by the way my family was acting this evening! Folks, we haven't seen rain in a long time, so we celebrated with much glee!The dark clouds rolled in and the heavens opened. Ragamuffin was beside himself!!!
The boys had a blast playing in the rain. Boy, did they get soaked. It was quite a heavy shower with whirling winds.

Uh oh. The wind yanked one of our stakes out of the ground, so this poor, young tree was touching its toes! It was amazing how fast the streets flooded. It was like the boys were wading in a creek or something. Watching them play in the rain brought back memories of when I was a little Arizonian about Mullin's age. Seriously, playing in the rain here is a rare treat!

Shouts of joy and jubilee could be heard from all the excited neighborhood children. The storm left as quickly as it came. All is calm again. And thankfully our electricity wasn't out for very long.

Poor Shiloh didn't get to join her "bubbies", for she has spent the first few days of being three sick. :(

Monday night after a full day of fun--seeing Kung Fu Panda, no napping, eating dinner at Chili's, and helping to make home made ice-cream with Paw, she threw up all over the couch, rug and tile floor. At first we just thought it was from too much junk and too much fun, but she continued to throw up during the night and once the next day. A low grade fever set in, and she just looked so pitiful. Today at 10:30 am, she just went upstairs, tucked herself in bed, and slept for 3 hours. You know a toddler is sick when they voluntarily take a nap!!

She seems to be on the mend, and I am really hoping this won't get passed around to the entire family!! I don't think I can do another "get only 2 hours of sleep night"!

My Baby's Three!!

Pin It Now! Good morning princess! I can't believe you are already 3!! Seems like yesterday when my water broke right as I was slipping under the covers for a good night's sleep. Needless to say, I slept not a wink that night. ;)

We let you open your first present very early on Sunday, June 22 just before Daddy walked out the door to lead worship at church. Yea! A Hello Kitty DVD. Now you will be completely occupied while Mommy gets herself ready.

We were so glad Paw and Cece came to visit the weekend of your birthday! We are all ready for church, and you are so excited about your party that will take place after a good nap.

After church you got to open your presents from Mommy and Daddy and Paw and Cece. Lots of My Little Ponies from us, and Dora galore from Paw and Cece!

Later you had a fun My Little Pony Swimming party. It was so fun having a party with 4 little girls!! This was your first party with friends!

Mommy made you a My Little Pony Cake with some of your mini My Little Ponies.

Happy Birthday Hon Bun! I love you and hope you had a wonderful day!! I look forward to many more girly birthday parties.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Pin It Now! Some folks have mentioned that my blog isn't letting them comment. I love comments, so I have not done this on purpose.

I did go in and change some of my settings, so hopefully you all can comment away now!!! If you still can't, please let me know! Thanks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oodles of Apples

Pin It Now! Making memories at Grandma's house. The kids look forward to this every June!!!

Apple picking...

Apple washing...

Apple juicing...

Apple drinking...

Apple peeling and coring...

Apple dehydrating...

Apple trail mix making...

Good times! Oh, and the taste of freshly juiced apples is delicious! Fresh dehydrated apples are a tasty treat as well. Mom, thanks for the many bags of apples and all of the apple fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Yogurt & Eczema

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I just wanted to pass along this article from Stonyfield about the positive effects yogurt can have on eczema.

Two out of my three kids have suffered with this skin condition as babies and into their toddler years, and Stonyfield yogurt has been a part of their daily diets for quite some time. I also use Dannon Naturals yogurt. Now at ages 6 and 3, my two are eczema free and have been for a while.

While I have used many other natural remedies over the years, which is another post in and of itself, maybe their daily dose of Yo Baby/Yo Kids yogurt has been a tremendous help! I have been very fortunate to be able to keep allopathic treatments far, far away.

Visit Rocksinmydryer for more WFMW tips!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Text Message

Pin It Now! This story just about ripped my heart out!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Post I Wasn't Brave Enough to Write

Pin It Now! I wanted to shout "Amen" from the mountain top when I read this post on "hoochie mamas"!

It reminded me of this mom whose son was on Mullin's baseball team 2 seasons ago. I mean who wears mini skirts and pumps to their kid's ball game?

I am always so surprised, too, at how many women want to show off the work their plastic surgeon has done while they are watching their kids play sports. I know I am weird, but this is offensive to me.

For those of you who do read that post, I will confess a few things. I must admit that I do still shop in the Junior's department of some stores. I am just not ready to graduate to the "mom" section yet. Also, I do actually own "hoochie mama" clothes, but I wear them for cleaning and hanging around the house. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wet Dog, B.O., and Rotting Meat

Pin It Now! That's what it smelled like in my house today.

My 2 boys and 2 neighborhood boys decided to escape the intense heat and come inside for a little while. Almost immediately, a rancid smell infiltrated my lavender-scented home. Even the cinnamon apples baking in the oven couldn't cover the stench. Seriously, I thought I might puke!

Is this what I can expect from now on since I have 2 growing boys. Is my house no longer going to smell princessy fresh?

Because I don't want my children playing in the neighbor's homes, I open mine up. So, I guess that means it's gonna stink. I mean, it probably wouldn't be very tactful to hand the kids a bar of soap while I escort them out back to the hose. I do make them take off their shoes--hmm, maybe today that was a mistake.

I really do desire to be a cheery, hospitable mom, and since God's strengths are made perfect in my weaknesses, I know He's going to bring me through. I am just not quite there, yet. I do love me a clean, quiet home!!

Oh how I miss hearing Jean share countless stories about raising boys. I have gleaned so many wonderful child rearing tips from her, including how to be a hospitable mom! If we were sitting at my kitchen table over a cup of tea, I know she'd tell me in that sweet, southern drawl, "Brandi, you're raising your kids not your house!"

Feel free to send me your best tips when it comes to inviting your kids' friends/neighbors into your home!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lunch With a Very Old Friend

Pin It Now! What crazy timing!

I get in touch with my best friend from the 4th grade, who I probably haven't seen or spoken to in about 14 years, find out she's the founder of Bella Lucce, and then to top it all off, she tells me she's coming to Arizona for a speaking engagement!

This past Saturday, she treated me to lunch, and we had a fine time reminiscing about our fourth grade adventures and everything in between then and now. She seems to remember an incident that I must have forgotten after all these years. Even though I was usually a perfect angel, I guess I did get into a teensy bit of mischief every now and again. Lela made me do it!!! :)

An hour and a half just wasn't enough time to cover 14 years!

Thank you, Lela, for a great time and for the lovely gifts!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Another Spider Episode

Pin It Now! As I was making my bed this morning I spotted a teensy weensy spider crawling on a pillow that had been sitting on the floor all night. No big deal--I didn't even really flinch. I quickly and mercifully ended its life, then flushed it down the toilet.

After that I noticed a tremulous spider with long, bendy legs right in the middle of my bed on top of the quilt. It looked like it had already been squashed a bit, and since it was still twitching I didn't know if it was already dead or not. Ewww, it reminded me of a you know what, so I wanted to take a closer look before ridding myself of the beast.

Even though I am no longer living in the Brown Recluse capital of the world, there are still a few of these infamous critters that have chosen to reside in the desert. Hoping and praying that this was just a wanna be BR, I grabbed some toilet paper and picked the thing up by a leg. I got nose to nose to that spider analyzing its pancake head to make sure that the markings weren't really those belonging to a true BR. At that moment I was having a nightmarish vision of it regaining strength to jump onto my face and bite the fire out of me disfiguring my face for life.

After careful inspection and to my great satisfaction, I decided that was in fact not a Brown Recluse. It was one of those smart spiders who evolved into a BR look-alike to avoid being eaten. Just kidding. But there really is a non-poisonous spider that closely resembles the venomous Brown Recluse.

I was a happy girl!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: "Mom, I'm Bored" Edition

Pin It Now! Summer's here and eventually we moms will hear the ever familiar whines from our spoiled (I mean sweet) kids, "Mom, I'm bored!" :)

While we do have many fun things planned for summer, everyday can't be a party and being stuck inside during triple digit temps. out here in the desert can bring on those boredom blues. But, I can usually hush them up with threats of chores if they continue to hassle me!!!

So, what are some ways we ragamuffins ease the blues of boredom? Well, for starters we got out a piece of construction paper and a marker and made a list of things the kids could to do around the house that don't involve my help. Then, I hung it up on our dry erase board, so they could easily consult the list. The list includes simple things like: play a board game, play with little sister, watch cartoons, play computer/X-box games, draw or do art, read a book, do summer workbook pages, help with extra chores, etc... The last 3 items mentioned bring me to my next point for this special, themed Works for me Wednesday.

Inspired by the Harry Potter books, we have a "house point" system. I am sure many of you are familiar with the 4 houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff. Well, we decided as a family to name "our house" Stormcrow after the dearest of wizards, Gandalf. Yes, we are all die hard Lord of the Rings fans as well!! Anyway, all throughout the year my kids can earn house points for various things, but this summer I have decided to add an incentive to earn even more points. I am hoping this will help keep them busy and out of my hair while I try to get some things done. (I home school, so it is imperative that I make wise use of my time off!!)

Here's what they have to do to earn those extra points, which will help them reach 300 points by summer's end. (They can redeem 300 points for a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.) I guess I should mention here, too, that during the year they can turn in 100 points for a certain reward or wait until they reach 200 points for an even better reward. Any time they choose to use their points, we start over at 0. Okay, with that out of the way I will move on.

I have bought a workbook for each of my boys and they can receive 1 point for each completed page. Each workbook has over 75 pages. For each novel that my almost 9 year old reads, he earns 5 house points. For each easy reader that my 6 1/2 year old reads, he earns 2 points. For extra chores I will give points based on performance. So, hopefully with those incentives, my boys (daughter is still too young to participate) will choose to earn points instead of choosing to bug me to death!!

**My kids can also earn 5 points for each Bible verse they memorize over the summer. Our aim is 1 per week.

The House Point system has definitely worked for our family, so hopefully it will work for yours, too! I would love to know what your "house name" would be if you choose to use this idea!!

Please visit Rocksinmydryer for more tips on keeping your kids occupied during the summer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bean Makin' Baby

Pin It Now! Helping Mama make refried beans the old fashioned way! You know, sorting, soaking, simmering, and here she is stirring. We added salt, paprika and garlic powder, too. But no lard and other yucky stuff. After one taste, I couldn't keep her from eating them off the spoon!

Spreading mixture on tortillas. No, they are not homemade. That is the next food project on my list since it is so hard to find truly healthy tortillas in stores. Can somebody please make some without hydrogenated oils!!!

Next she sprinkled cheese, and then I popped them in the oven for a few minutes.

It is so nice to just be "mom" for two months and not teacher,too. Gives me time to spend doing fun stuff like this with the kiddos. It was great mother/daughter time. The boys were outside with the neighbor kids. Gotta love summer!!


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