Monday, May 19, 2014

The Big Week!

The big week has come.  The plants have been selected and are all paired nicely with their companions.  We tilled this weekend and are all set to start turning in some extra nutrients (I like manure, peat moss, and compost personally) during the week and then Thursday through the weekend we'll be putting the seeds and seedlings into the ground.  I promise to share pictures. :D

How are your gardens going?  I know many of you have a jump start on me but I'm ecstatic to be sharing with all of you. :) 

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Apparently I have yet again missed the "gravy train" parents ranting on both sides of the fence about food allergies, food sensitivities, and anything else that might cause them to have to think twice (or would rather NOT have to think twice) about what they are serving someone else.

I'm the mom of 2 boys - neither has severe food allergies (thank God) although one does have some very minor apple sensitivity issues.  I have NEVER in all the years I have worked with children (now 20+) had a problem with a child and their dietary needs.  EVER.  If you're one of my Scout Moms, CCD Moms, Homeschool Party Moms, then you already know that I care DEEPLY about these things and your child's safety because I would pray that if the tables were turned you would care as much about MY child.

I am HONORED to have the chance to work with your children.  I am BLESSED to have the opportunity to spend time with them and have them help change MY life - yeah, that's right - MY life.  Your kids make ME a better person and I am grateful.  Food allergies, medical issues, and all.  Your children give me the gift of seeing the world through their beautiful, intelligent eyes and I am the better for it each and every day.

I've been the person who has gone to a party and not been able to eat ANYTHING I was served.  I've been the girl who had to quietly push food into a napkin so she didn't offend anyone.  I've flushed chili down a toilet to keep a host from being embarrassed.  Attending food events is often a nightmare for me because of my food allergies and my desperate attempts to keep anyone else from having to deal with them. I have even ended up in Confession LYING to get out of attending these events to save myself and hostesses from embarrassment that I inevitably know would ensue.

My own experiences are why I never mind helping my kids.  I even *gasp* don't allow them to have "substitute treats".  What's good enough for one is good enough for all.  Scout Campout?  Make sure everyone can eat what is on the menu and pick food using the democratic process.  CCD Snacks, yup - I'm the Mom sending carrots and dip or fruit kabobs.

You know what the funny thing is?  I've NEVER had a child complain.  Not in 20+ years of doing this.  Maybe it's because I try very hard to make certain all is still "yummy" but more than likely it's because I don't allow them to play favorites.  I've had gluten free, dairy free, food coloring free, vegetarian, vegan, soy free, diabetic, etc etc etc.  Never a problem - not once!  Sure, sometimes we had to get rather creative, but we made it work!  And the kids are BETTER for it because they're learning to work together and actually CARE about other human beings!  *I* am better for it because I get to use my creativity to create new and exciting things in the world of food!

Stop the whining - ALL OF YOU.  I get that it stinks on both sides of the fence.  Telling a kid "no" is NOT the end of the world - on BOTH SIDES.  If ALL of us could be just a little more compassionate maybe our children can focus on solving world peace rather than arguing over whether or not cupcakes are an acceptable snack.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My New 4 Letter Word

There is no secret that my world focuses extensively on my 2 beautiful boys and my amazing husband.  Yesterday while running errands I had a few minutes to think on words and what I would like to eliminate from my vocabulary.  One word in particular came to the surface.  I've used it quite often and when I really thought about it, it's been used 99% of the time as a pretty white lie:

One 4 Letter Word that crushes imaginations, disappoints, and creates chaos in my life.  When am I TRULY too "busy" for the people I love?  I went through and counted up the things I'd been "too busy" to do in the past week.
  • I was "too busy" to check on Netflix for a neighbor who was looking for a recommendation of survival shows to watch. 
  • I was "too busy" to let my son help me make dinner at least half the nights in the past week. 
  • I was "too busy" too many times to count because I was on my computer researching or doing something *I* wanted to be doing instead of playing with my children. 
  • I was "too busy" to properly clean the house and work on the things my husband asked me to do.
  • I was "too busy" to cuddle with the toddler.
  • I was "too busy" to help my son put up his tent in the yard. 
  • I was "too busy" to take the kids to the park. 
  • I was "too busy" to leave for Mass on time so we were late. 
I'm "too busy" too often for all the things that should matter the most.  100% of the "too busy" above can be described in one sinful, loathing word:

Or as the Church calls it in the 7 Deadly Sins, Sloth.

So for all of you out there who are "too busy", I invite you to join me.  For the next month - until June 15, I will be banishing "too busy" from my vocabulary.  I will either explain why I was not able to do something with what I was doing that prevented the activity OR I will....get this...DO what someone is asking of me.

Join me - we could change the "too busy" world we live in, one mind at a time. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Minor Nightmare and a Gallant Rescue

I love camping.  I absolutely 110% LOVE camping.  There is nothing like getting away from being plugged in and taking the kids out to the middle of nowhere and getting lost in God and everything He has made.

I'd like to introduce you to my tent.  Actually, this isn't a pic of MY tent, but the current model available for sale at Kmart.

It's HUGE.  I nicknamed it the "Chalet".  It's actually 3 "rooms" in there. GINORMOUS tent.  There's even built in closets!  I'm not joking!!!  STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!!!!!

Last summer my gorgeous tent went to camp with my husband.  Unfortunately in their haste to take it down the last morning, they forgot to make certain it was dry.  They were CONVINCED it was 100% dry.  I never checked (bad Mommy).

Yup - mildew and mold.  In places that are well over the top of my head (it's about 7 feet tall at the peak!).  This is NOT good.

I sat there inside the tent with the box that had just arrived and wanted to cry.  My beautiful tent was being eaten by mildew and cleaning it was going to make me sick and possibly blind (bleach overhead is NEVER a good idea).  I looked at the box and I wondered....what if I used the essential oils inside to clean it?  COULD they do the job?  Were they CAPABLE of this feat?!?!?!

I went inside and got to work doing what I do best on Google.  I checked my favorite sites, a few recipe places I'd bookmarked, a book I'd purchased, and came to the conclusion.  I think I can do this.

My favorite site, Learning About Essential Oils provided the Basic Bathroom Spray I was going to base this on.  I <3 Lea's site.  She's a fellow homeschooler and a REALLY neat lady.

That said, I also knew that tent was going to have a toddler inside so adjustments needed to be made.  I substituted the Peppermint in the recipe for Fir Needle, a similar oil in terms of performance but safe for little guys to inhale while Mom is scrubbing over the top of her head.  I also needed to use Cinnamon Leaf instead of Cinnamon Bark due to little lungs.

I also didn't have a ton of vinegar on hand and the only spray bottle I had to use was 2 oz.  More adjustments necessary.  So I decided to mix up the oil magic and then dilute just enough for my little bottle.  I made the full recipe of oils in a 5 ml empty bottle (always have these on hand!!!) and then divided the total number of drops (120 for inquiring minds) by 3 (because 6/2=3) which equaled 40.

I put 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 drop of dish detergent, and 30 drops of the oil in the bottle (I figured I could add more if needed).  Swish swish.  Topped it off with H20, sealed, and swished again.  Armed with a damp sponge, I went to work.

100% of the spots have faded at least 50%.  About 50% of the spots are completely gone.  On 9 month old mildew!!!!

Even better news, the combined properties of these essential oils area antifungal (Cinnamon Bark, Tea Tree, and Lemon), anti-microbial (Cinnamon Bark), antibacterial (Cinnamon Bark and Lemon), and act as a natural deodorizer (Fir Needle).

Oh, and I still have my sight.  That's a biggie. :D