Saturday, May 30, 2009

Double-Duty: Watkins Vanilla

I love, love, love finding items that serve more than one purpose. This is especially great for those living a green lifestyle.

My latest find is Watkins Pure Vanilla extract. (I found it at Walmart for about $4). It comes in this adorable, four-inch tall, vintage-like glass bottle. When you've used up all the delicious contents, instead of tossing the bottle in the trash or recycling bin - use it as a sweet little bud vase! They make an even bigger statement when several of them are grouped together! Could you see five of these little babies lined up on a sun-drenched window sill?

What items do double-duty in your home or garden?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are you Immune to your Home's Eyesores?

I love having family and friends who are willing to give honest feedback about my home.

This past weekend, while tidying up for company to arrive, my mom (who was helping me) asked, "what is that doing there"? She was referring to an old, ugly, metal ladder which had taken up permanent residence in my baby's small nursery. I had gotten so used to seeing it there that I had become "immune" to what an eyesore it was. It had been there for months!

I then begged her to go from room to room with me to point out any other eyesores I had become immune to. She was hesitant (I'm sure she didn't want to hurt my feelings) but once she realized I sincerely wanted her feedback, she agreed.

We found a tabletop baby swing leaning against the crib which looked much better under the skirted crib. There were a couple of wooden TV trays leaning against the brick surrounding the fireplace, and a vacuum tucked next to the TV armoire. I had some major paper clutter going on in my kitchen problem spot (you know...the spot where clutter seems to magically gather overnight). Once we cleared everything out, my house magically had a "sparkle" to it!

So, to add instant sparkle to your home, do a walk-through with a friend or family member whose opinion you trust (and who also does not live with you). You can also do this yourself if you just shift your perspective to see your home the way others may see it if they were entering it for the first time. This technique is an absolute MUST if you are planning on selling your home.

How many eyesores can you find?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When you know you've done something right...

When attending my son Riley's preschool graduation yesterday, one of the other mothers approached me. She told me something her daughter had said to her one day. She'd said, "Mom, sometimes kids at preschool are mean...but Riley's NEVER mean."

It's amazing how that simple, honest statement from a 5-year-old girl (relayed through her mother) could fill me with such pride. You always hope your kids behave well when they are away from you, so to know that my son treats other children well when I'm not's a real testament to me that I must have done something right. And that feels so good!

When have you known you've done something right with your children?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Drinking Green Boosts Immune System

A few weeks ago, my 2-year-old daughter was sick. Again. She is so unlike my 5 year old boy who very seldom ever gets sick, and when he does he's over it within 24 hours. This was the third time in the last few months she had been sick. First with the flu, then with a head and chest cold, and then with a fever, swollen gums, sore mouth and sore throat. UNCLE!!!! (This last one is called the, ahem..."Coxsackie virus". Hehehe!)

This got me thinking about the immune system and how to strengthen it.

Greens provide vast amounts of nutrition and help to strengthen the immune system. Unfortunately, my kids aren't keen on nibbling rabbit food... so, I googled "green drink recipe for kids" and it came up with Dr. Oz's (as seen on Oprah) Green Drink Recipe.

Knowing my daughter's finicky taste buds, I altered the recipe in hopes that she would actually drink it! Here is my recipe...
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 thumbnail length of ginger root, peeled
  • 1 lemon - juice only (use peel slice for zest)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Handful of strawberries
  • 8 oz container of strawberry banana yogurt
I tossed the ingredients in a blender, added a handful of ice cubes, then pureed quickly for one minute.

Well, unfortunately, she took one sip, said "Mmmmm!!" and then she was done. Yep, one sip. And the, "Mmmmmm!" must have been just to make me feel good. What a nice little girl.

So, with all the delicious green puree still sitting in the blender, I got an "ah-ha!' moment and filled my popsicle molds up and threw them in the freezer! Guess what? She likes green popsicles! Yaaaaaay!

What about you?? Do you have a great green drink recipe you would like to share? How do you help strengthen your kid's immune systems? And for Heaven's do you get your kids to eat their greens?!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Herbal Mother's Day!

Okay...for those of you that know me, I'm all about natural healing. It just goes to figure that I love herbs. Herbs for healing, herbs for eating and...

Herbs for Gifting!!!!

This Mother's Day, I decided to give my wonderful mother her own indoor herb garden. Check out this high-style herb garden I put together myself with a few plants, glass containers, gravel, textured wallpaper, twine, and metal tags.

If you want to gift an awesome indoor herb garden like this one - or make one for yourself, follow these easy instructions:

You'll need:

Potting soil
Gravel (for drainage)
Glass containers
Plants (I used basil, rosemary, thyme, and stevia)
Heavy paper (scrapbook paper, handmade paper, or wallpaper)
Tags (for identification)

Step 1)
Put a layer of gravel at the bottom of your glass container.

Step 2)
Plant your herb in the container. Water well.

Step 3)
Wrap your container with your choice of decorative paper. Overlap the edges and secure with a small piece of clear tape.

Step 4)
Write the name of the herb on a pretty tag.

Step 4)
Wrap a length of twine around the glass container three times. Place the end of the twine through the tag and tie in a knot.

Ta-da!!! Beautiful!

Happy Mother's Day!!

What are you giving your mom for Mother's Day? Are you opting for handmade or store bought?

Monday, May 4, 2009

What's Your Love Language?

Have you noticed that people show their love in different ways? I've always known this, but what I didn't realize was this: When expressing love to someone in your own love language and not theirs - they might not get the message. This can become a BIG problem in marriages.

Several years ago, and before I had children, I read the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Recently, I picked it up and read it again. Now that I've been married for eight years and have three children - it had much more of an impact on me.

Dr. Gary Chapman points out and expounds on the five love languages which are:

Quality Time • Words of Affirmation • Gifts • Acts of Service • Physical Touch

I've learned that my husband's primary love languages are Words of Affirmation, and Acts of Service. When I give my husband a gift, he certainly appreciates it, but it doesn't send him the message that I really love him. Yet, when I tell him what a great job he's doing as a husband and father, he beams - he feels loved. And when he comes home from work and sees that the house is sparkling and that it smells good - he beams again!

My five-year-old son's primary love language is Quality Time. I can tell him what a good boy he is, and I can buy him toys. But when I ask him what makes him feel really loved he always tells me it is when I play with him and spend time with him. (Dr. Chapman points out that parents should express love to their small children in all five languages for the best effect).

Making an effort to speak the love languages of the people I care about has made a big difference in my life and in theirs! It is one of the simplest ways I have found to have harmony in my life. Try it!

What's your love language? Can you guess mine? (I have two).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gotta Love a Rain Storm

Right now I'm enjoying a magnificent rain storm! The rain is slapping down hard. It's bouncing noisily off the windows. The sky is gray with billowing clouds with rays of light shining through behind them. The sky is booming with thunder. And the smell is heaven. Best smell on Earth.

This is one of those simple moments I love to relish in...

What simple moments do you love best?
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