Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lemon Dust Rags

I have almost completely converted my home to all-natural, safe, family friendly cleaners. One of the last things to go (and is actually still in the cleaning closet as we speak) is dust spray. I know it is bad and laden with horrible chemicals and fragrances, but it just works so much better than anything else I've tried. (Granted I've really only tried dry dusting or a Swiffer brush. Neither of which I'm too impressed with.) Every time I dust with the spray I find myself holding my breath and diving towards a 'clean' air pocket that doesn't yet have that choking, lemony smell.

I finally found a fast, easy, eco-friendly alternative!! (Well, actually pinterest found if for me, but I digress.) I tried it this afternoon, and so far so good. The directions were easy to follow, and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand.

To make Lemon Dust Rags you will need:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon rind
  • an airtight container
  • an old t-shirt (or other rag)
Cut the t-shirt (I used one of my hubby's old undershirts because I like how thin they are) into rags. You can make the size of rag that you prefer to clean with. Mix the vinegar, water, and olive oil in a bowl. Soak the rags in that mixture. While they are soaking, peel the rind off of your lemon. (Now squeeze some lemon juice into your water to have a refreshing drink!) Squeeze most of the moisture out  of the rags. Place the rags into the air tight container alternating a layer of rags with a lemon rind.

Thats it! You did it! How easy was that?! 

I'm really excited to see how they work! My plan is to let them sit a little longer and then try one. My only concern is that I won't get the chance to use them all before the bottom ones began molding...we'll see. At least I won't have to lunge towards clean air or worry about my baby inhaling those fragrances!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Love Letter to my Body

Dear Lovely,

My apologies for never fully seeing you, your beauty and your perfection, until it's too late.

When I look back at photographs, I see this most amazing creation, full of life and personality, with a glowing beauty that masks any worldly imperfections. Why didn't I notice you? I'm sorry for never completely seeing you until it's too late. Until that time has passed and I've beaten you down so completely that even having everything isn't enough. How come our timing can't be right? Why can't I see you for what you really are? You are, and always have been, enough.

I hate that I always think the grass is greener anywhere but here. It isn't fair to you and the work you've put in. And I don't mean the physical exhaustion of walking, running, pilates, yoga, aerobics, weightlifting, rock climbing, and everything else that could even slightly change you on the outside. I mean the work that betters you. The work that builds and nourishes you on the inside. The prayers and walks and longings to be you. Truly you. Nothing less and nothing more. To be free. We've worked so hard to be free. We've purged ourselves of negativity and surrounded ourselves with people who love and adore us, and yet we are the ones tearing each other down.

I promise you, we'll be free. Someday. Today maybe. We'll be free. We'll love the curve of our hips that has been there since junior high. We'll embrace the soft bump on our belly that arose because of life's most beautiful and precious gift. We will look at out reflection, frontwards and backwards, and appreciate that we are made in the image of perfection. We emulate Him, the Almighty, the Everlasting,  the Most Beautiful. And no matter what you try to say back to me, He loves us! He has always loved us. He created us to be exactly who we are, and what we look like, in this moment.

And that is lovely. We are lovely. We are full of love and grace and beauty.

We are worth it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Little One

My nest has changed, quite dramatically!

In the beautiful March afternoon sun, my little one was born. Much to my surprise it was a boy!! We named him Noah Samuel. He was 8 lb. 0 oz. and 20 1/4 inches long. Sam and I didn't find out what we  were having, and my gut feeling was it would be a girl. Basically because I really truly wanted a boy, but I didn't want to get my hopes up (don't you love my reasoning there). I've always thought it would be lovely to have a big brother for the other little ones.

We had a homebirth with an amazing midwife. It was incredibly spiritual and real. By the grace of God everything went well, but I'll save that story for another day.

Noah is 3 1/2 months now and my world has been turned upside down. I have decided to be a full time momma, which means I quit my job as a 4th grade teacher. It has been pretty bittersweet. I had a great job! Let me take that back. I had the job. It was in one the best districts with wonderful kids, great parental support, and outstanding co-workers. If I was to follow the norm, I would have stayed. But I followed my heart (meaning I prayed and prayed and prayed) and my heart told me to stay with my baby. Even though I know I could have continued to work, maybe even part time, I don't want to miss the chance to be a mom. Maybe I'll go back one day. Probably. But for now I am learning motherhood. What a beautiful, interesting journey!

Monday, January 16, 2012

One of my faves

Tonight I'd like to share with you a childhood favorite of mine that I made for supper: hot dogs, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. I honestly have no idea if the majority of readers will have just gagged, said "hhmmm that's a new one", or nodded in complete understanding.

A bit of a background. I come from German heritage on both my mom and dad's side. I think it's fairly pure as well with only a move to Russia in the late 1800s to report anything other than German in my lineage. And that probably doesn't really count since I'm not sure any ancestors stayed there or had children while living there. Sauerkraut and potatoes are German foods as I'm sure you are aware. I don't know exactly how the hot dog came to play in that meal. Here's my hypothesis: I also come from a lower middle class family. My dad was/is a high school teacher and my mom stayed home with my brothers and I. Money was always fairly tight. I remember having things like powdered milk, McDonald's for a treat only if we were traveling on the road, a calculator at the grocery store to ensure that my mom stayed within the food budget, and no buns for the hot dogs or hamburgers. At the time, I, for the most part, didn't know the difference. I didn't really know that other kids drank actual milk and that's probably why they liked it so much more than me. I didn't know that having a strict budget meant you didn't have much to spend. I did know that not eating out other than special occasions was different from a lot of my friends. Looking back, I love the situation I was raised in! I love what it taught me about having and not having. And about how much can be sacrificed without any harm being done to your quality of life.

So I imagine that the addition of hot dogs to one of my favorite meals probably began because of a food budget. Hot dogs are cheap. This doesn't change the fact that those three things taste absolutely delicious together! The one thing that has changed though, is the quality of the hot dog. No, I do not eat regular hot dogs anymore. Not since giving up pork and understanding what a hot dog is actually made of. So a once frugal meal has become a bit more expensive. (All beef hot dogs are way worth it, though. So tasty!) But the cost for me does not out weigh the delicious experience and reminder that I come from a great family!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Moms are on my mind today. First of all, my wonderful, beautiful mother is coming to visit me for the day! We don't live very far apart, but she is a very busy woman and we don't get a chance to hang out just the two of us very often. We are going to look at all of the baby stuff I've already acquired since she hasn't seen most of it, and then do some shopping. For me mainly. I've been very blessed with two lovely sisters-in-law who lent me a ton of awesome maternity clothes, so I have only actually bought about three maternity items for myself. As awesome as those borrowed clothes are, I'm getting the itch to get a few new outfits. Mommas are great to go shopping with. I think my mom and I probably went shopping every Saturday when I was in junior high and high school. I always seemed to think I needed this or that. The funny part is, I never shop as an adult. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I probably shop for myself three to four times a year. Second (I need to get back on track here), my grandma is on hospice. She is 77 (I think) and suffers from Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's I believe. We think it may just be here time to go. According to my mom, she has said several times that she would like to die. Not in a morbidly weird way, but in that way so many older people seem to reach at a certain point. My grandma, Shirley, has been an affectionately tender grandma. I have vivid memories of her rocking me to sleep singing lullabies in my ear, snuggling close on the couch during a movie, and in recent years, holding my hand probably to comfort her more than be my grandma. I am sad that my little one may not get to be loved by her. At least not here on earth. But at least she knows the baby is coming. That's something, isn't it. Third, I am going to be a momma very soon. I would even argue that I already am one. It has been an eye-opening, amazing experience for me to morph into this selfless (hopefully) being focused on providing the best for a person I haven't even met yet. The love I have learned innately from this time has been incredible. I now can at least relate, even if it is in the slightest bit, to mommas everywhere. What an incredible love. I can't wait to fully know this love very soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My nest

Freya has been kicking all day today! That's what Sam and I affectionately call our little one. No known gender yet, just assurance that it is healthy and growing! Why is it so popular now to find out what you're having? (Insert joke about "You're having a baby, haha!") I've never wanted to find out. I've always, and when I say always I mean from the time I started playing mommy with my dolls, wanted it to be a surprise. I feel that God made this the most exciting gift possible. He teases you with knowing you have a gift coming. Feeling the wondrous moves inside your belly. But not giving away, at least not naturally giving away the best part of all. Boy or girl. I've always found this fascinating. Why keep it a secret? Why not have some way of knowing? Some people think they can tell by how you're carrying, the pencil trick, or just having that innate knowledge some feel so deeply about. I'm not one of them. At least not about my own babe. I truly don't have a strong feeling. Right now I think it will be a girl more than a boy, but it's like a 60/40 feeling. No guarantees :)

Presently, Freya is transverse (according to our lovely midwife and my instincts). Which means that it's head is in the lower left part of my ever-stretching abdomen, and it's little feet are up towards my right ribs. Hopefully it is working it's way head down. The midwife, Michelle, didn't seem too concerned, but me being me, I have been praying and wondering about it since she told me that. The movements are so vivid now. I can feel the head/arms moving right against my skin sometimes. It is the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life. And I'm not saying that lightly. I've always wondered what that feeling would be like, and it far surpasses my ideas. The coolest part now is that Sam can hear the heartbeat with his ear against my belly! When he puts his head down to listen, the baby will often kick right where his cheek is resting. Talk about love.

I've gained approximately 17 pounds now. Weird. I never thought I would really care about my weight when I was pregnant, but oddly I kind of do. I logically know that it is fine and actually good. But I've never really gained weight in my life. Ever. Other than muscle when I was in high school and working out like crazy, so it was good weight. I see my body changing, weekly at least, which is also bizarre but beautiful. The best part is I get to share it all with my best friend, my hubby. He loves me, truly. And he has made it so acceptable and lovely to watch me change into a momma. It has brought even more of my walls down with him when I didn't think there were many, if any, left.

I have been blessed with an enjoyable pregnancy so far. For years, I wondered if I would be really sick. My mom was pretty sick with each of her three, and I kind of assumed I would be. I am so incredibly thankful for how it has gone so far. I was nauseous and dizzy from about week 6-9ish, and also ridiculously tired. The exhaustion could have also been because I started back to teaching again right around that time, which wears anybody out. I would work all day, come home and nap for an hour, and still go to bed around 9. It was an adjustment for us to say the least. Sam was so understanding and began to take over practically everything around the house. Including our brand new, 8 week old puppy, Willow. Life was changing very quickly.

Before I get too carried away, this post is entitled 'my nest' and I feel that I owe the appropriate explanation. God has been so gracious. Especially these past few months. I want to document His goodness and the story He is telling through us. My nest right now consists of three amazing, incredible, and very different creatures: Sammy, Freya, and Willow. We are on a journey. Together. I want to tell our story. Whether is it worth reading or not is up to you. It is simply ours. Made by the One who makes.