Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 8/22/12 w/ Linky!

I'm jumping on the Wordless Wednesday blog hopping party!  
Get on board and post some of your pictures!

We had some excitement in our garden this week.  A baby yellow finch was dropped off in our garden where he stayed for a couple of days.  He was nice enough to let us get some really close pictures of him.

Baby birds on the ground who look healthy, with feathers and don't seem to be hurt are called "fledglings".  They've left the nest for good and can live on the ground for up to 10 days.  As long as the momma or daddy bird comes around within an hour after noticing a baby bird, he'll be just fine.  The momma bird will make sure her baby is well taken care of.
Marcella was fascinated with this baby bird and tried very hard to convince me to bring him inside and take care of him herself.  Oh I remember the days of nursing injured birds. Like mother, like daughter!
Daddy bird keeping close eye on his baby in our backyard

 He made himself right at home and as you can see, he was very close to our kitchen window so we could watch all day.

 He eventually flew from the butterfly bush to the sad looking dead daisy bush.  He got himself up on the top and perched up there all proud for a while.
 Until we learned that our little visitor was a fledgling, we thought if we picked him up and put him closer to food and water, maybe he'd drink and want to fly away.  We learned that we are not momma birds and can't teach a baby bird fly.  Nature is so mysterious!

 The daddy bird was showing the baby bird how to fly.
Momma bird stopping by for baby's breakfast

The next evening, the baby bird flew from our cozy little garden to our neighbor's tree.  He spent the night up there and was gone the next day.  I tried to photoshop an arrow to show you where the baby bird is sitting but got too frustrated and gave up. (It's late)  If you can see the big gap into the tree from the right side, next to that is a small hole where you can see the sky.  It's almost exactly in the middle of the whole picture. There's a tiny tiny little round shape in that hole.  That's the baby's head.  We were so proud of our baby bird that he flew oh-so far!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making Liquid Hand Soap

Part of my job description as a stay-at-home mom is to save pennies, cut costs and search for those deals and sales.  Along with that, I also feel that if I can save money by making something, I'm all for it!  Plus, it's fun!  So this time, my brilliant idea was to try some of these recipes for liquid hand soap.

In the last couple of years, I've had issues with my skin and eventually turned to using only Dove bar soap.  Dove soap is also one of the safest soaps out there and I love how it makes my skin feel. So this is what I did to make liquid hand soap.  This first recipe does not work for Dove soap.  See the second recipe below is for Dove.

What you need:

1 - 4 oz bar of soap (any kind will do)
1 gallon of water (distilled is best for longer storage)
2 TB glycerin (optional)
1-2 TB essential oil, olive oil or coconut oil (optional)
Box grater
Large pot (any will do, this will not ruin a good pot)
Wax paper

What to do:

Heat water to almost a boil.  In the meantime, shave the bar of soap over the wax paper.

Turn off heat and add all ingredients.  Stir (or use a hand mixer) until soap shavings are melted.

Remove from heat and let sit for at least 12 hours until completely cool.

Once completely cool, your soap should look like this:
This recipe made the Dial soap really thick and gel-like.  I added about two more cups of water and placed over warm heat until it liquified again.  It didn't take as long to cool off.  I discovered that if you use coconut oil, it will become a bit more like gel because once coconut oil becomes room temperature, it hardens.  So use sparingly.

This soap became just a tad bit runny so if you end up having to add more water, add a little bit at a time until you get the consistency you want.  It smells great and now I have a gallon of hand soap stored in an old pitcher.

On with Dove.  This recipe is different because Dove already contains 1/4 moisturizer.  Using Dove is not as cost effective because you use more soap and less water, but if you're wanting a healthy liquid hand soap, you won't care.

What you need:

1 Dove bar soap per 2 cups of water, 2 bars for 4 cups of water... you get the idea.
1-2 TB glycerin (optional but not needed)
Large pot
Wax paper
Box grater

What to do:

While water is heating to almost a boil, grate the bar(s) of soap.
Add soap shavings to water and remove from heat.  Stir until all soap has dissolved and allow to sit for at least 12 hours.

I did get a little impatient the next morning and put the pot in the fridge.  Yeah, I know.  Somedays, I just don't have the time!  The Dove bars I used got really foamy.  After the soap cooled and the foam didn't go away, I added 2 TB of glycerin and mixed well.  That made it even more foamy.  After the mixture sat for an extra day in the refridgerator, it turned out to be very thick and foamy.
When I put this mixture into a regular pump bottle, it came out like water so it might do better in one of those foam dispensers.  However, I love how Dove feels on my hands over the Dial hand soap.  They both smell wonderful but I probably wouldn't offer my handmade Dove liquid hand soap to company.  At least until I practice more with Dove.

I read that they stopped making Dove liquid hand soap for home-use size and you can only get it in bulk now.  For just shy of a gallon, it's $21.  To buy 4 bars of Dove bar soap cost about $6.89 so you can make a little over a gallon for just under $7 if you make it yourself.

For a 7.5 oz bottle of Dial liquid hand soap it cost about $3.19.  It costs about $4 for 8 bars in a pack.  That means you can get over 8 gallons of Dial liquid hand soap for about $4 if you make it yourself.

Sounds like savings to me!

If you liked what you've read, vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs and We're on the Fence.  Come back and visit again!

Inspired by One Good Thing by Jillee and The Farmer's Nest and Pinterest


I forgot I had Lysol automatic hand soap dispensers so I popped off the lid of the containers and filled them with the Dove liquid hand soap.  The soap comes out so smooth and easily, I'm gitty as a little girl when I have to wash my hands now.   Apparently, keeping the soap in the fridge keeps the soap super foamy.  Once it gets back to room temperature, it turns into a better liquid form.  Happy washing!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Birchbox #2

I skipped home like a little girl when I saw my second Birchbox in my mailbox. I couldn't wait to rip it open!  And I was pretty impressed with what I got this time.

That hydro silk razor has 5 blades.  Pretty scary looking but it does a fabulous job!  I love the perfume and that little white and orange tube.... super fabulous lotion!  The only thing I didn't like out of this little box was the hand soap.  It felt good on my skin and I loved the texture of it, but I couldn't figure out what that stench in my bathroom was all day long.  It smelled like a foot.  I even cleaned the bathroom hoping to get rid of the smell.  Lo and behold, it was the hand soap.  Because I can't waste anything, I used it up very quickly and then that stench went away. 

So, that's it for now.  I'm counting down the days until school starts.  Such a bittersweet feeling.  Marcella starts in 3 days and Ellen starts in 5.  Oh my!  What will I do with quiet afternoons with no interruptions?  I just might get something done!  I'm looking forward to the kids going to school, I'm just not looking forward to the morning routine, evening activities and schedules schedules and more schedules!

So with that being said, here are a few good quotes I stumbled upon...

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” ~ Albert Einstein

"If you don't get lost, there's a chance you may never be found. -Author Unknown"
Heck, I must be getting found all the time.  I'm always lost!

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet. -Unknown
Ok, this one hits the heart for me.  I recently prayed for help with our finances and whatever God needs us to do, to just say the word.  Then I got a great idea for a parenting article for Yahoo! and then I got an email from Yahoo! saying that my beats are going to get more specific (score for article ideas!) so more beats will get written.  I have yet to write an article since my last craft article (check it out here).  I've been coming up with a lot of ideas lately, I just can't ever seem to find the time to sit down (uninterrupted) and get them done!  I only need 3,800 hits until I hit the next clout level and that won't take long, but it'll be a lot faster if I can get my behind in gear and get to work!!!  Please visit my Yahoo! page and check out some of my masterpieces!  There's a little bit of everything there! Yahoo! by me.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I'm jumping on the blog hopping party for Wordless Wednesday!

I am so excited (maybe too excited) about our new socks.  Apparently, mixed-match socks are the "in" thing.  I love crazy feet and I don't care if they match my outfit or not.  This could possibly be the "easy-out" of matching socks on laundry day!  PLUS!

I saw this tree this summer and was so intrigued by it.  It was so straight and so tall, and the bark had a really neat pattern to it.

Have a fabulous Wednesday everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Love Everyone. Everyone?

I was on my way to my parents' house one day and was traveling on the highway.  The kids fell asleep and I was enjoying such peace and quiet.  The traffic began to slow down to a crawl then all of a sudden, a loud buzzing noise goes flying passed me.  It made me jump and when I looked, it was a crotch-rocket motorcycle flying at least 90 MPH in between the traffic lanes.  He whizzed through many cars and got off the nearest exit.  Because I don't do sudden loud noises well, I was on the verge of tears and about to say, "You stupid.....(enter swear word here)..."  I stopped myself mid-sentence and then prayed for the poor (stupid) soul who was clearly about to kill himself or someone else.  I thought perhaps, just perhaps that kid had a good reason for flying through traffic like that.... maybe.  Just as I finished praying for his safety and the people around him, another buzzing noise comes flying through the traffic.

"And bless that stupid kid, too!  Amen!"

You know, if you ask someone about a time they tried to forgive someone for something wrong that was done to them, most often it's a story about traffic.  I came to the conclusion that roadways are a very popular place that needs forgiveness.  We have to share the road with many strangers, perhaps people we'll never see again.  It's easy to swear at and insult people we don't know or perhaps never see again when they do something wrong to us.

I've been cut off by people who stick their finger out the window at me and they were the ones cutting me off.  To me, it's very obvious that that person is clearly having a bad day and is taking it out on someone (me) that they don't know.  How easy for that to happen!

But God says, "Love thy neighbor."  (Mark 12:28)  If we all loved each other the way God wants us to, can you imagine what our world would be like?  A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.  I suppose that's easier said than done, but if we could replace insults and mean words with prayer, maybe that's a small step that would make a huge difference!

Link up with me!  Tell me about a time you prayed for someone and felt peace.  I love reading your comments.  If you like what you've read, vote for me at the top right Top Mommy Blogs and We're On The Fence.  Have a super day!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Perfect Little Bubble

I've been a stay-at-home mom for 8 1/2 years now.  In that time, I've been lucky to not have to deal with the public and rush hour traffic.  Unfortunately, I always forget about traffic when I need to be somewhere in the evening.  I know I'm lucky.  I know I'm spoiled.  This early morning I got a call from my stepson asking me to help him by bringing his backup battery for his radio while on a job.  He gave me directions and I was on my way.

It was a foggy and rainy morning and as I approached downtown I was in awe of how the city looked.  Columbus isn't the prettiest city but from a distance, it's nice.  Perhaps I was more in awe of all the clouds.

Anyway!  As I approached the not-so-nice part of town I was reminded how lucky I (we) really am.  Condemned houses with rotting porches, siding falling off the sides of the houses, bars on the windows and icky weeds growing everywhere, I was a bit nervous driving through the streets.  Some of the houses even had for sale signs in the front yards.  Really?  I noticed one or two houses here and there were much better looking and wondered what kind of people lived in those houses, the ones where it looks like someone cares about their home amongst all the nastiness. 

That is something we've done with our older kids.  My husband and I would drive our teenagers through the nastiest parts of town and show them what life would be like for them if they don't go to college, get a good job and/or date a loser.  Ok, I hate that word but there's no better word to describe a man who has no values and goals.  And yes, we meant that for our sons, too so they didn't become one of "those" losers.  A breaking reality all of us need at one point or another in our lives to see how bad choices can really affect us.

As heartbreaking as it is to see how people can live like that, it's a blessed reminder of how lucky I am to have made good choices as a young adult.  I went to college and got a degree, got a good job and met an honest, loving and hard working husband who cares enough to work as hard as he does to keep us safe and loves us so much.

My stepson was very grateful for me dropping my morning routine to bring him his battery but I was even more grateful for the opportunity to see my blessings in action.  I have grown a huge and deep appreciation for this perfect little bubble that I've created for myself and my family and I don't ever want to leave.

Then as I send my youngest daughter to the time-out corner while I'm writing this post, and contemplating the idea of going back to work (not really), here's a cute story I heard on the radio while I was driving through nastiville, Ohio.

Moms were calling in the radio station about their bedtime routine struggles with their kids.  With all the questions and excuses kids come up with to get out of bed and not go to sleep, one mom warned her young daughter:

Mom:  "If you get out of bed one more time, I'm going to come up there and spank you."
Child:  "When you come up to spank me, will you bring me a cup of water?"

If you like what I had to say, please vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs and click on Spiritual and Religious on the right of their page.  I love comments and the biggest compliment anyone can give is the gift of sharing my words!  Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Delete Key

The Delete Key - That little button not far from my right pinky, the one I use way too often.  How easy it is to use, backup, delete a mistake and try again.  Too often, I use the delete key to go back and correct a mistake all to make another mistake or the same one again.  If only life had a delete key....
"The entirety of your life is made up of two percentages.  Ten percent is what happens to you.  Ninety percent is how you react to what happens."
In many cases, we couldn't have done anything about a bad situation when it did happen, even if we wanted to.  The key to staying on a faith journey is to learn to forgive, forgiving the person who did you wrong, even forgiving yourself.  Now let this statement settle in your heart:

The Bible doesn't tell us to forgive ourselves.  

There's nowhere in the Bible scriptures that say we need to forgive ourselves.  Christ suffered a horrible death to give us forgiveness.  His work on earth was so complete that "I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin."  Jeremiah 31:34.  God has pressed the delete key over our sins, every one of them, and He has chosen to never remember them again, or have the intention of punishing us for them.  So why should we? 

So how do you go about forgiving yourself or someone else who did you wrong?

1.)  Refuse to hold a grudge.  Choose to release that person (or yourself) of the liability, then trust God to work on your behalf and bring healing to your heart.  Forgiveness means releasing into His hands the person, the circumstance and the outcome. All of it.  That's the way He did it with us, right?

I relate to this step by being a mother.  My kids do me wrong often.  They don't listen, they say I'm mean when they don't get their way and I occasionally get a mean face.  But I choose to forgive them because I love them unconditionally.  No matter how good or bad they behave.  We are all God's children, just the same.

When someone makes me angry or does something wrong to me, I oftentimes go over and over (and over) in my head what I should've said or done.  I replay that situation over in my head like rehearsing a play to the point where it exhausts me in every aspect of my life.  That's the clue that I'm still holding a grudge.  When I can release a little bit of that anger at a time, it allows me to become more free of that situation, accepting the fact that there was nothing I could've done to avoid that situation or to make it better. When I allow God to take over and make it right for me, I can begin to forgive.

2.)  Leave room for God to act on your behalf.  It's natural to feel as though forgiveness lets the other person just get away with it.  You're still the victim and they're still the offender, especially if that person never expresses any regret or gives a lame attempt at an apology.  If either of these is the case, it's not your job to make sure they get what they deserve.  That's God's job, in His own timing, His own way.

3.) Pray.  Forgiveness is a miracle and miracles can take time.  So don't expect instant results, but pray for God to empower you to be patient and have the willingness to forgive.

Forgiveness is not always easy.  It's a process.  We're not perfect, we're human.  We make mistakes, others make mistakes.  These steps are by no means easy to do, but hopefully they will help release us from those situations we experience in life that hinder us to live with true freedom and love.

"Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive."  Colossians 3:13

If you like what I had to say, please vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs and click on Spiritual and Religious on the right of their page.  I love comments and the biggest compliment anyone can give is the gift of sharing my words!  Have a wonderful day!

Inspired by The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Balancing Act

I recently looked at my calendar when a friend asked me to set up a play date with her before school starts back up again.  Lo and behold, there were not many days to pick from.  I didn't even realize how full my calendar was for August until I took a good look at it.  With doctors' appointments, eye appointments, dentists, school open houses, school shopping, birthdays.... my eyes got real big when I saw how close school is coming and I'm running out of time.  August 21 is going to be the day the earth weighs the least when all the moms jump in the air and yell "First day of school!  Yippeee!"  but I'm not so sure I'll be leaping into the air with the other moms.... well, I'm sure I will, but with a little panic mixed in with it.

With the mark of school starting, it usually means more events, commitments, activities and shrinking time zones.  I feel I need to come up with a game plan for the school year so I can keep myself in check to be sure I don't get overwhelmed with all the things I WANT to do verses NEED to do.  As I read Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer over the weekend, she explains the balancing act like clear, glass boxes.
Some of us may have lots of boxes and others just a few. 
Imagine having several clear boxes sitting in front of you, filled with pretty blue water.  Each box is filled with the exact same amount of water, signifying various activities of your life.  Our tendency is to attempt to keep them that way, equally filled with identical amounts of ourselves and our efforts.  Balance, right?  This is what we think balance looks like but in fact, it's what life looks like out of balance.  Realistically, balance in life doesn't mean putting everything we've got into each activity of our life all the time.  We'd plummet into failure if we did that.  There's no way one can put 100% of themselves into home life, 100% into work life and 100% into family life, etc.  

How do we achieve balance, then?
First step is to pray about God's priorities for us, in this season of life, then rearrange the boxes accordingly.  You may have to push some boxes to the back, bringing others to the front and perhaps emptying some of the boxes and dumping more water into others.  In those primary boxes where most of the water is dumped into are the boxes we put the best of ourselves and our efforts.  Does that mean the other boxes aren't important anymore?  Certainly not!  It just means that we don't need to be allocating the best of ourselves in those particular boxes for the time being.
"Balance is not when the boxes are equally filled but when we are free to fill only those that are important for now, without feeling guilt over the ones that we've left for another time and place."
So each box(es) can take turns, as God sees fit.  Whatever moment you're living in will cue you toward the responsibilities that are inherent for you in this time and space.  This gives you permission to say no to certain things that are not really yours to carry right now.  In doing so, you'll find that every yes comes with a lot more freedom and fulfillment.  I have to always remind myself that whatever I think I may want, isn't necessarily want God wants for me at this time and I have to pray for wisdom to know the difference.

What boxes do you need to push to the front or to the back?  Which one(s) need(s) to be filled more than the others?  

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

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