Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Amish house cleaning!!!

Wow, I'm exhausted and excited at the same time!

A few weeks back a gal in the missional community (small group) from church mentioned how the Amish women go to each others homes to do deep cleaning together. So a few of us decided we needed to do this as well.

It was very last minute and sick kids kept a few ladies away, but 2 showed up to clean my house tonight! We cleaned the living room, playroom, master bath, master bedroom and the entry way. Ceiling to floor! Well, not really the floors, because my vacuum pooped out on me tonight...*sing* Ya picked a fine time to leave me Lucille" But the windows got scrubbed, the blinds, the base boards, all the furniture got polished, the fans got dusted, the light switch covers got scrubbed..My house is sparkling!!!

Good times and great stories to tell...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Deal finders...

Well the Junk Sale is over... I had a lot of junk, and well someone thought it was worth something... I made $470.78. A few friends brought some junk to sell as well. All told we cleared over $600!

I love people watching and what a great time I had interacting with all the shoppers... I realized that differenent segments of the population shop so differently... Most men are shopping for something very specific. One man had his truck there bright and early and picked up a ton of our furniture, and he was a strong negotiator. We told him the price was $20 and he offered $5 type deal. He would quickly be able to tell you exactly what was wrong with what you were selling and why the value was to be so low. I would assume he was going to resell our junk and be able to quickly tell a potential buy all the good points! We had several other men stop buy and they were asking about very specific items, fishing items, old guns, old laptops, old pocket knives. None of which did we have, but they asked, sometimes spent a buck or two on something else and left quickly.

I started asking the men if they were looking for something in particular, One older gentleman said "yes, I need a drill bit" Turned out, he was working on a stove for his daughter, on a block over, left for Home Depot, and stopped by our sale to see what we had. I loaned him a drill bit from my husbands garage, he returned with his wife who spent $5, and the drill bits! He seemed stunned that I would just do that for a complete stranger...well it saved him a trip to home depot, so they spent their money at my sale instead of home depot! Win-Win is what I call that... of course that's not why I did it...

Then there are the ladies... the area has a very large Hispanic population. Many of which don't speak much English. But boy they know how to communicate when they think your prices are too high or they want to get them down! And negotiate they can! The women wanted the best price possible, much more than the men. The men did not hardly even negotiate on price, but the women...they seemed to thrive on it.

Thankfully, many saw the value of most of our junk and we got fair prices for our stuff.... oh 1 guy did make off with a pair of gently used, very expensive sneakers for 78cents...but his were in really bad shape, so I was glad he got them for cheap!

The end of the day my friend with boys, came and loaded all the left overs up and took it to a donation center! Her 2 older boys (the ones that can walk), were EXTRA helpful! Speaking of helpful.. my mom ROCKED...she came and worked, brought only a few items, spent more than she made and worked so hard both days... and froze right there with us! Thanks mom!

Feels great to have it all out of my hair, now for the chore of super cleaning... we list it next week!

Friday, February 22, 2008

From the Junk Sale...

Well, we got up at the crack of dawn, literally, it was 630 and the sun was just peaking out. It was stinking COLD out too... I mean, CCCCCCCCold! My faithful husband went right to work toting all of the junk out to the driveway. I had a few friends bring some things by as well. Our junk was reached our long driveway and into he garage.

Most of the furniture sold, but also tons of baby clothes too. I'm above $200 so far-WAHOO...what shall I spend it on? Oh yes, moving, right.

I got a neat treat, our neighbor across the street has a new baby that I had not gotten to meet yet..she stopped by, picked up a few clothes for her little girl... I told her about our playgroup (uh-oh we better get going girls!), and she was really interested.

Oh and none of the blankets sold, we were using them to wrap up with and stay warm, did I say it was cold?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Bugs


I read today on the Vaccine Awakening blog that Glaxo (a drug company), has just gotten their version of the rotovirus vaccine approved today by the FDA. Barbara Loe Fisher did an outstanding job of discussing this vaccine, I won't rehash what she had to say here..

BUT, it got my random thoughts spinning! Good bugs or friendly bacteria, or flora, that make up our digestive tract and how they have changed our home and I thought I'd give a little information that people ask me on a regular basis...now I can just point people to this post.

A little background info first... a few years ago I was having a recurring infection, I was chatting with my midwife about this and asked her how I could prevent it, not just treat it once it was here. She suggested I head to the health food store and get some probiotics. I had heard of these and knew the basic concept but really did not know much.

Once I got to the health food store, my head started spinning trying to sort through all the bottles of probiotics. I asked for help, the lady that helped me asked if I was having recurring sinus issues. I had been for years. I picked up a bottle that day and started on them immediately. The infection that I had been having has not returned, and my sinus issues have significantly subsided as well.

Now, when someone in our house feels a bit under the weather for any reason I up their dose of daily probiotics. If anyone has a stomach bug I really up their dose of it as well.

A basic primer, from me about probiotics... They are the friendly bacteria that populate our digestive system. They are responsible for helping digestion, which I've read holds a huge percentage of our immune functioning. Think of it, antibiotics kill off ALL bacteria, even the good stuff, leaving our immune system more vulnerable to a future more severe infection if it is not replaced quickly.

What I look for in a probiotic:
1. Lot of bugs (cell count in the billions)
2. Lots of Strains: We are said to have thousands of strains of good bacteria in our digestive tracts, they have isolated just a few of them to put in probiotics, so I try to capitalize on the number of strains we are getting. Bifidus or bifidum is said to be good for babies.

You don't have go buy the most expensive one. Something about the ones that say they don't have to be refrigerated, not sure how that all works... but I avoid those.

I also change it up from time to time buy a different brand every few bottles.

Yogurt and other "cultured" foods have the good bugs in them, most don't have near as much as you can get in a "probiotic" Kefir is the exception. It's a yogurt type food, found in the natural section of the grocery store, or at a health food store. It's often flavored, great to add it to a smoothie. You have to really watch the sugar content of these items as well... you can think that you are eating something healthy when it is loaded with sugar. Also, not all yogurt actually has live bacteria cultures in it. And personally I ponder if the weird colors they add to the "kiddie" yogurts don't do something to any remaining live cultures...

Most kids will eat and LOVE good quality yogurt, it does not have to be loaded with extra sugar, or wild colors, or cartoon characters. I mean, buy this stuff if you want, but don't be fooled on it being at all healthy for your child... (if your doing it just for the calcium and they won't eat yogurt any other way, offer them a Viactiv and they probably won't turn you down!)

So talk to your doctor, do some research on all the benefits of probiotics and see about getting yourself some good bugs.... I wonder if the drug companies that offer the vaccines for rotovirus ever tested probiotic usage in small children to prevent rotovirus?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Going Green-Save a Buck

I'm all about saving. Saving money, time, and the earth while I'm at it. I think we should be good stewards of all we are blessed with. It's a learning process for me. I do love being Thrifty though...so that inspires me to do so with saving time and the earth while I"m at it.

For instance, I've started refilling those foam pump things on my own. I love using Burts Bees soap for the kids, but at $9 a bottle, that's a bit steep for our budget. However, I've figured out a way to make it work. With a "free" coupon I got a foam pump soap. I used it up, as not to waste it, then filled a small amount of my Burt's Bees in the bottom and the rest with water. Works just like the other foam soap... I use about 1 bottle of the foam on the kids in a month... at this rate the full bottle of Burt's Bees should last over a year and half! So that particular endeavor worked well for me... Oh and I've also done the same thing with the kids hand soap, and my kitchen soap.
If you did not know those foam pump soaps are the biggest gag I've seen in a while. Meaning they are priced higher than regular soaps, AND they cost a fraction of the amount... Pretty much anyone can experiment a little and use regular soap and water (lots of water, little soap).

So I decided to figure out what other cleaning products I was spending lots on and how I could save...

I googled how to make my own dishwasher detergent... I read lots of articles and peoples comments... decided this would take some serious trial and error. My finicky dishwasher wants only the most expensive tabs out there! All others I've had serious issues with and end up with still dirty dishes... but alas I have to try to make my own... what could it hurt right?

Well, during one of my experiments, Natalie comes running to me... "mommy, mommy, there's bubbles EVERYWHERE" I had read that you could use a few drops of liquid dish soap with the mix of washing soda, and borax to help get everything nice and clean... well, I guess I used a few drops to many...

After several loads of dishes and them turning out like they have a film, I gave up.... (I even tried vinegar in my jet dry compartment, per several "green" website suggestions). It did not help. I'm not saying this does not work for some, because I"m sure it does. My washer is pretty finicky, so if you can use powder in yours, give it a try. 1part Super Washing Soda (arm and hammer makes it), and 1 part Borax, 1 tablespoon of this dry mix should be enough for the load. Both were available at my grocery store, in the laundry products aisle, and for cheap too!

Here's a cute pic I snagged of Natalie and the bubbles... (I just found out if you click on the picture it will increase the size)And a super cute pic of each of them!

Just One More time...

Tonight as I got Bubs ready for bed, I put his first 12 month outfit on him. It's the cutest little footed jammie I got from Divine Consign little cowboy horses and it says "giddy up" all over it. I get a bit sentimental at the littlest milestones. He turned 8 months this last week and I got a rare chance to nurse him in the middle of the night. As he ate he was playing with my face. His tiny little hands were moving my lips all around as he ate. I pondered how someday, in what will seem like a flash of time, his hands will not be tiny, but be large, the size of a man's hands...

Rewind to Sis as a tiny infant...from time to time she would fall asleep on my chest, the way only newborns can do. I recall thinking one day, I was going to sit and just soak the moment up...enjoy as much of it as I could because one day I would think "If I could just hold that tiny baby one more time" That was my "just one more time" To this day, when I catch myself pondering her as a tiny baby, longing to have just one more chance to hold her. I go back to that day, and recall that I took that chance to hold her extra long "just one more time."

I took the middle of the night feed to do that with Bubs. I sat there soaking it all in. Thinking of how small his hand is, how soft and new his skin feels. How his little body fit perfectly across my lap. How his whole face lights the room when I walk in. How he throws his arms in the air and says "mamamamama" when he's done playing and ready to be held. How he stops eating to look at his dad and say "da" and waits patiently to offer a huge smile when his dad looks his way.

Toddlerhood is knocking at our door with him and soon Sis will be classified as a "preschooler" Time is flying by... I must pause for "just one more time."

Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done and I absolutely love it more each day!


Our family is planning a cross country move sometime this year... We are moving from a good size home to an area that is known for very high housing prices... Plus when hiring a mover, we will be paying per pound to have our stuff toted to a new dwelling. I really don't want to pay and deal with moving junk we don't use,need or love. So it's going, and NOT with us!

I have gone through nearly every room, drawer, and hiding place digging out junk to get rid of. It feels so good to purge things that just seem to weigh us down.

I've piled it up in my garage and will attempt to off load it to suckers driving down the road. Maybe they will need,use and/or love some of my junk...pay me happily for it and take it away forever. I've been calling this event a "garage sale" when I should be calling it a "junk sale" as we are selling our junk not our garage or even our yard.

Now I love stuff that makes my job as a mom/wife more simple, but does that mean we need so much junk? Doesn't it just clutter our minds more? having it piled in every nook and cranny of our home, doesn't it just stay on our minds that it's there, a hidden mess, or even well organized (if your into that)... I know it does mine. as I carry boxes of crud to my garage I feel less weight on my mind.

I can't wait to get my house on the market, all clean, uncluttered, organized, ordered and rid of all this JUNK! I shall report on any mood change it makes in the rest of my family... (although keeping a house on the market might add a bit of insanity of not being able to "live" in our home.....but alas I cannot dwell on that right now. )

I wonder if I'll have more people stop to pay for my junk if I make the signs read "Junk Sale" or "Garage Sale" ?

Friday, February 15, 2008

First Blog Post

To blog or not to blog, that is quite a question. Who would want to read it, will people think odd of me for posting such strange random thoughts? Will my friends disown me and not want to link back to my blog? Will Stink and Bubs sleep long enough for me to draft my random thoughts? Well, the only way to know is to start this and find out.

I have very random thoughts, some deep and some, well, just plain stupid (shh don't tell my 2 year old I used that word). They come at random intervals, sometimes a large influx of randomness occurs and other times they are sparse.

I'll try to occasionally add a few photos of the kids for those who prefer to look at the pictures rather than read the words. Be forewarned, I have a bad habit of taking pictures, leaving them on my camera and not wanting to take the time to upload them.

I nearly failed honors English and absolutely hated it, so no promises on grammar, spelling, punctuation...honestly I know I stink at those things, and am learning to just let it go! So to Ms. Sweetin, I apologize in advance!

So here goes...