Friday, July 29, 2011

Homemade alternatives

Lately I've been inspired by friends to look for homemade versions of some of the products that we use around the house (check out these recipes for homemade laundry detergent, shampoo and dishwasher detergent).  These homemade versions are usually a lot more environmentally friendly and cheaper too!  Here's a few of the things I've been "concocting" lately:

Homemade oatmeal milk bath (sort of like the Aveeno stuff)
1.5 cups oats (any kind), ground to a very fine powder
1.5 cups instant skim milk powder
1 cup baking soda

Mix all ingredients together.  Keep in a sealed container.  Add about 1/3 cup (for kids' bath) to running bath water.  Watch kids closely in the tub, as it will make the tub a bit slippery.

I found this recipe on the blog What a Sweet Life, but it was a little different.  It included 6 cups of epsom salts and 20 drops of lavender essential oil.  Since I don't like scented stuff, I omitted the lavender right away.  I tried it with the epsom salts, but I think they bothered the kids' eyes.  I noticed both the kids rubbing their eyes and when I asked Annika about it, she said that they hurt.  Since her shampoo is tear-free, I figured it might be the stuff in the water, so I tried a version without the epsom salts (could've also been her soap...).

I don't ever take baths, but the kids do, so I've been adding this to their bath water lately.  The oatmeal is great for soothing itchy skin (from mosquito bites, eczema, poison ivy, chicken pox, etc), and the milk and the baking soda are good for moisturizing.  Since both kids have dry, sensitive skin, it seems to be beneficial for them.  Make sure to apply lotion immediately after drying off, to lock in moisture.

Homemade daily shower cleaner
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
Juice of half an orange
1 Tbsp dishwashing soap

Pour into a spray bottle and shake gently to mix.
~ from eHow

Cleaning the shower is one of my least favorite tasks, and while I love the idea of the daily shower cleaner spray, I don't love the idea of spraying around chemicals on a daily basis.  I found a "green" daily shower cleaner at the store, but it was heavily scented so I didn't like that either.  So I found a recipe to make my own.  I just started using this, so I can't say how well it works yet.  If you click on the link to eHow there are lots of different recipes for a daily shower cleaner - I chose this one because I had all the ingredients on hand.  We'll see how I like it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

And so I ran

It seems strange, but after I wrote last week that I wasn't going to start running on the treadmill right now, I almost immediately had this strong desire to run.  I wasn't that I wanted to run to try to lose weight or to restart my Couch-to-5K program -- I just wanted to run.  For the sake of running.  I wanted that feeling that comes with running - hot, sweaty and exhausted, but energized and exhilarated.  I wanted a "runner's high."  I wanted to spend half an hour just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.

And so I ran.

And it felt good. :) 
I think I may do it again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I just read an article that made me feel a bit disappointed - you can check it out here. If you're too lazy to click the link and read the article for yourself, I'll give you the gist of it. It's about a CBC investigation into some of the big-brand "green" detergents and their ingredients. Turns out some of them are not as green as they claim. They had an independent lab analyze Clorox GreenWorks, Purex Natural Elements and Sunlight Green Clean and both the Purex and the Sunlight detergents contained petrochemicals. This disappoints me because I've been using Sunlight Green Clean for the last while, and I thought it was a good, affordable "green" choice. However, since there aren't very strict regulations on companies using terms like "green" or "environmentally-friendly", turns out there can actually be quite a bit of other stuff in these products and they can still use those words to advertise their products. I'm not sure if there are Canadian regulations, but the article states that the "U.S. Department of Agriculture allows any laundry detergent with 34 per cent or more of bio-based carbon content to be categorized as a bio-preferred product." That means it can be 2/3 non-natural ingredients and still be advertised as a natural product. Seems a bit deceptive to consumers, if you ask me. :(

The test showed that the Sunlight Green Clean detergent contains 62% bio-based content and 38% petroleum-based content.  So it is still somewhat "green", but just not as green as I had thought.  Although, I had my suspicions about it even before I read this article.  On the bottle it says "includes plant-based ingredients", which, like the article says, is a bit of a tip-off that it's not entirely plant-based.  Also, when I looked at the ingredients list on the back of the bottle, there were several non-natural sounding ingredients. 

Even though it's not entirely natural, I think I will still continue to use the Sunlight Green Clean.  Even though it's not quite what I thought, it does have quite a few things going for it:
  • I find that it works really well.  I've tried several other all-natural detergents and some of them didn't do a very good job with stains or keeping whites white.  I even use this to wash Emmett's cloth diapers, as I find it gets them clean, gets out the stinkies, and doesn't leave much of a residue (I seldom have to strip his diapers). 
  • I like that there's a scent-free option (which really is scent-free!), and it contains no drying alcohols, dyes or phosphates.
  • It's low-sudsing (although I don't have an HE washing machine, so that's not much of an issue, although maybe that's why it's good for washing diapers), and it works in cold water.
  • It's biodegradable after 28 days.
  • It's convenient.  I tried making my own laundry detergent for a while, but I found it time-consuming to grate up the soap for it (I have an aversion to graters - I tend to end up grating my knuckles).
  • And perhaps best of all - it's affordable and available in stores.  A lot of the other natural detergents are only available through online stores or by special order (like Norwex), and they cost quite a bit (plus more if you have to pay for shipping).  I buy Sunlight at Sobeys when I do my grocery shopping.  I think it's regularly $7.99, but it goes on sale for $3.99 every now and then.  Plus I usually have a coupon for a dollar off, so that's only about $3 for a bottle that lasts about 30 loads.
So, although I'm disappointed, I think this may be one of those cases where "good enough" is good enough for us.  However, I hope as more and more "green" products come onto the market that the government will create stricter regulations for using those terms, so that consumers can be better informed about the products they're buying.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No interest in Pinterest

For the last while I've been coming across links (or "pins") to this website Pinterest on different blogs and on Facebook.  Finally my curiosity got the best of me, and I checked it out and signed up for an account.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Pinterest, here's the description from the site:
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.
Sounds kind of interesting, doesn't it?  A place to catalog all the neat things you come across and see what other people have been discovering.  I could see myself really getting into it, except for the fact that I've decided to de-activate my account.  Why am I doing that?  Well, there are two reasons.

First of all, this looks like it could become a giant computer time-suck, and goodness knows that I've got enough of those already (Facebook, my blog, reading other people's blogs, etc).  I'm sure I could spend hours looking through other people's pinboards, or surfing the web looking for things to pin to mine.  Sure it would be fun, but do I really need that?  No.  I don't need another reason to spend time on the computer.  If anything, I need to shut it down more often and spend more time "in real life."

My second reason for wanting to avoid Pinterest is that I can see my pinboards quickly devolving from "things that I like" into "things that I want."  Sure, it's fine to dream, and look for inspiration for your own life, but for me (and I'm just talking about me here, I'm not judging anyone who likes/uses Pinterest), I can see that it would just lead to envy and dissatisfaction with what I have.  I don't have a designer living room, I don't wear cute/interesting clothing ensembles, I don't make gourmet recipes.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  I can see Pinterest being helpful if, like the description says, you were planning a wedding or redecorating your house, but I'm not doing anything like that right now.  Right now I need to spend time "pinning" the things I have in real life to my own "mental pinboard."  I need to count my blessings.  I would rather spend my time looking at what I have in my life, and being grateful for that, as opposed to looking at what others have.

So I've decided to start my own "1000 gifts" list instead - a list of the little things in life that are worth noting and giving thanks for.  Here is the start of it:
  1. dirty dishes on the counter - no lack of food here, even if it's not gourmet
  2. homemade baby food
  3. little toys under foot, carefully arranged, a sign of a great imagination at work
  4. the sound of a guitar and a sometimes-off-key singer (that would be me), a kazoo and a tambourine - my little family band making a joyful noise
  5. sidewalk chalk
  6. a tea party on a Sunday afternoon with some lovely ladies
  7. a sweet, little girl in a white dress
  8. chubby baby thighs
  9. warm summer days
  10. warm summer nights

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Faith like a child

They say that love can heal the broken
They say that hope can make you see
They say that faith can find a Savior
If you would follow and believe
with faith like a child

~Jars of Clay~

Friday, July 22, 2011

More of him, less of me

From the title of this post, you may think that I'm going to write about some deep, spiritual stuff.  But I'm not.  The title is literal - I'm talking about size here. 

First off, "him" - Emmett.  This kid is growing like a weed.  He's not quite 8 months old yet, and at 21 lbs and 29 inches, he's already bigger than Annika was at one year.  He's still wearing some 6-12m size clothes, but mostly 12m stuff!  He has wonderfully round cheeks, plentiful chins, and thighs that would make a grown woman shudder (but they're adorably cute on a baby).  I don't know what it is, there's just something about a chubby baby that I just love.  I'm actually really glad that he seems to be a "big boy."  Since he's a December baby, he'll always be the youngest in his class, but hopefully if he keeps growing like this, then he won't be the smallest.  I think it's harder for boys to be the "little one" in the class.

So, with Emmett getting bigger and bigger, it seems to be having an effect on me, physically.  I've actually lost a couple pounds in the last few weeks, and I think he's the reason.  He is heavy.  He's only about 10 lbs less than Annika right now, but he seems so much heavier to carry around, because he's just like a big sack of flour.  Annika will at least hold on when I carry her, which makes it easier.  He's my weight-lifting routine.  Especially carrying up the stairs or in his bucket seat!  I also wear him in the Boba or the wrap almost every day when we go for a walk, for about half an hour to an hour.  We don't walk overly fast, but just having his weight strapped to me is a workout, and it's definitely been working my core muscles to keep eveything balanced.  I think my attempts at healthier eating have also been helping.  It's only been small changes, but it's enough to make at least a little difference. 

I'm now about 4-5 lbs away from my pre-Emmett-pregnancy weight.  Initially the pregnancy weight came off quite quickly, and then around April I got kind of stuck (and like I blogged back then, I was okay with it).  For a while, I stayed in the range of about 6.5-8.5 lbs left.  Then about a month ago I noticed that I was staying more at 6.5 rather than fluctuating back and forth.  And then the scale started to gradually move down.  It's not a huge loss, but I really wasn't trying to lose weight (just to be healthy and active), so it's a pleasant surprise.  It's also encouraged me to perhaps try a bit harder to get rid of those last few pounds.  I don't think I'll be making any other changes now in summer, though.  It's too hot to start sweating to workout videos or running on the treadmill - I'd rather be outside sweating while playing with my kids while I have the opportunity.  And on a hot day, I want to enjoy the occasional ice cream cone or Slurpee without worrying about my diet.  So maybe by fall I'll get back into the "weight-loss mode" (if I don't lose any more just by doing what I'm doing now).  Who knows, by then I might even feel up to getting up at 6:30am to exercise again (which I used to do on a regular basis!).

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Here it is - my 100th post!!  To celebrate, I've written a list of 100 things about me.  Enjoy!

  1. I was a terrible baby - very colicky (or whatever you want to call it).  My brother wanted to send me back.
  2. Growing up I had trouble saying the word "specifically."  I still tend to avoid saying it.
  3. I hated swimming lessons when I was little because I couldn't do the front crawl (I kept breathing in while my face was still in the water).
  4. I got my learner's permit the winter before I turned 16, but didn't get my license until I was 17 and a half. I passed my test on the first try, though - I was just scared to drive for a while. 
  5. I wouldn't say that I was popular in high school, but I did have a group of friends. I haven't kept in touch with anyone from high school, though, aside from Facebook.
  6. I once had short, spiky hair which earned me the nickname "Rooster". I've also had my hair long and then chopped off 10-11 inches and donated it to Locks of Love.
  7. As a kid I was afraid of the drive-thru car wash (and I still am a little bit). I haven't been in one for years - I take my car to the Chamois.
  8. I was in grade 2 or 3 when I had my first crush.  
  9. I went to see "Toy Story" on my first real date - I was in grade 8. 
  10. I was also in grade 8 when I had my first kiss.
  11. I kissed a few frogs before I found my prince, but I'm not going to say how many!
  12. Carey and I have attended the same church for all our lives (well, I think I was 2 when my parents started going there).  We got to know each other better when he was my youth leader in grades 11 and 12, but didn't start dating until the year after I graduated.
  13. Carey is 4 and a half years older than me.
  14. I'm not sure if this was our "official first date" or not, but it's one of the first, memorable dates that I had with Carey - we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory at the Forks and walked around afterwards.  This was right before I left for Trinity Western University, so it was also a bit of a good-bye date.
  15. Our first kiss was the following summer, in his truck, at the lake.  We didn't do the long-distance thing while I was away at school, but got back together a little while after I moved back home. 
  16. Carey proposed to me on the way home from my parents' cabin in July 2003.  My dog had just died that weekend, and I was pretty bummed up until that point.
  17. I was 21 when we got married, just like my mother.
  18. The one thing I wish I could change about our wedding is the pictures.  I wasn't very specific with our photographer about what shots I wanted, and we have a lot of kissing pictures (which is fine, but they're not exactly the ones you want to send out to all the relatives!).  Also, there was a problem with the roll of film that had my family pictures on it, so we only have 1 photo of my family, and we're all laughing and not looking at the camera.  I also wish we could've had a dance at the reception (there was no room for a dance floor with all the people we invited).  We had Ron Paley and his jazz trio playing live dinner music instead, which was a pretty good compromise.
  19. I didn't know where we were going for our honeymoon until after we were married (we went to the Dominican Republic).
  20. After doing a lot of renovations to our aging house, with the plan of selling it and buying a new house, we decided to tear down the old one and build a new one on the same lot because we liked our location so much. I've never regretted that decision. I love where we live.
  21. My favorite vacation with Carey is the road trip we took to Chicago when I was pregnant with Annika. I hope one day we'll be able to go back there with our kids (since Annika didn't get to see any scenery the first time!).
  22. I always wanted to have 2 children, a boy and a girl.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have gotten my wish.
  23. I was 25 when Annika was born. I turned 26 the next day. 
  24. I was 28 when Emmett was born.
  25. Neither of my babies made it to their due dates.  I was induced with Annika a few days before her due date, because of high blood pressure.  Emmett was just eager to arrive.  We thought he was born about 2 weeks before his due date, but after he was born they told us our due date was wrong, and he was about 4 weeks premature.
  26. I made it through both pregnancies without throwing up once. I did have a lot of nausea though. To this day, I can't eat saltine crackers because they remind me of feeling sick.
  27. I had horrible heartburn/acid reflux with both pregnancies. 
  28. I was only able to breastfeed Annika until she was 3 months old and Emmett until he was 2.5 months.  I don't regret switching to formula in either case.
  29. I got pregnant with Annika the first month of trying.  Emmett took 4 months of trying.
  30. When I was pregnant with Annika, I craved French bread.  With Emmett, it was fresh-baked white buns.  I also ate a lot of M&Ms while I was pregnant with Emmett.  Maybe that's why I sometimes call him M&Mmett.
  31. The last time I remember crying is in the hospital after Emmett was born.  He was having trouble breastfeeding (he wouldn't latch), and the nurse wanted me to pump (which I hate) after each time I gave him a bottle.  I didn't want to do it during the night, since I was soooo tired, and I broke down and cried.  That night he actually started latching on, so I didn't have to do it.  I'm sure I've cried since then, but that's the time that sticks out in my mind.
  32. My kids make me smile every day, although they also try my patience almost every day as well. Something to work on, I guess.
  33. I have something called "Gilbert's Syndrome".  It has something to do with my bilirubin count.  It has never affected me in any way, except for the fact that it was constantly brought up in the hospital after Annika and Emmett were born (they both had a little bit of jaundice).
  34. When I was 23 I started having a very fast heart rate (tachycardia).  Sometimes I would get short spurts of my heart racing really fast, and just over all it was faster than normal.  I had a few scary trips to the ER that summer.  I was on medication for it until I was 25 (went off it before getting pregnant with Annika), but they never found an official cause for it.
  35. I also suffered from anxiety and depression during that time.
  36. My tachycardia went away after I started seeing a therapist, which makes me think it was psychosomatic.  I saw a therapist every week for about 4 months.  I now have a completely normal heart rate.
  37. I have struggled with bouts of insomnia since I was in grade 5.
  38. I had braces for almost 2 years, when I was 13. I wore a retainer at night for many years after that.
  39. I just recently got a night-guard, because sometimes I clench my teeth in my sleep and wake up with a really bad headache.
  40. I had 4 permanent teeth pulled when I was a kid, because there wasn't enough room in my mouth.
  41. I got my wisdom teeth removed when I was 21. I was completely put under for the procedure, and when I came to, the first thing I said was "where are my shoes?" (it was summertime, and my sandals had fallen off).
  42. I got glasses in grade 5. I switched to contacts in grade 9 and rarely ever wear glasses anymore.
  43. I would love to get laser eye surgery, but the thought of it terrifies me.
  44. I have pale skin and I have come to accept it the way it is (after countless painful sunburns, stinky self-tans and tanning beds that made me feel claustrophobic). I am a big proponent of shade, covering up and sunblock (I use SPF 60, like the kids). At least I won't get skin cancer and wrinkles.
  45. My right foot is slightly larger than my left foot. As a result, I have trouble finding shoes that I find comfortable for both feet, and I don't enjoy shoe shopping.
  46. I've never broken a bone, but I have sprained/twisted my ankle quite a few times.
  47. I'm allergic to Clearasil - something I discovered as a teenager. I'd take a pimple any day over the scaly, red rash that I'd get on my face from using Clearasil.
  48. Scented things (lotions, candles, perfumes, hair products, etc) give me a headache. I usually try to buy unscented or fragrance-free whenever possible.
  49. I bruise like a peach.
  50. I lost 26.5 lbs in 2009 (totally unrelated to pregnancy weight). I then gained it all back (and a bit more) in 2010 when I got pregnant with Emmett. I've got about 4 lbs of "baby weight" still hanging on.
  51. My favorite current TV shows are The Office, The Big Bang Theory, and Chuck. In the past I've also been a huge fan of Beverly Hills 90210 Dawson's Creek, Friends and 24.
  52. I'm a huge fan of The Office.  I own the first 5 seasons on DVD (season 2 is my favorite), as well as a Dwight Shrute bobblehead.  I once hosted an "Office" viewing party and I served jell-o with a stapler in it.
  53. I don't remember the last time I saw a movie and thought that it was really good. However, I do enjoy some oldies, like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman.
  54. I had a huge crush on Leonardo DiCaprio when I was young.  It all started when he was on Growing Pains.  I used to have 2 huge posters of him in my room - one from "Romeo and Juliet", and one from "Titanic".
  55. My favorite book is Little Women.  I've probably read it at least 15 times.
  56. For several years I had a subscription to Glamour magazine, but I discontinued it because a lot of it didn't seem relevant to me anymore.  I now subscribe to Today's Parent.  sigh.
  57. I buy double rolls of toilet paper so I don't have to change the rolls as often (as this task often gets left to me).
  58. I absolutely love Starbucks.  My favorite hot drink is caramel macchiato and my favorite cold drink is caramel frappuccino.  My love affair with Starbucks started when I had tachycardia and couldn't have caffeine - Starbucks will make any version of their drink decaf (although I don't think they make the frappuccinos decaf any more).
  59. I don't listen to music a lot (apart from the radio while driving or Annika's kiddie CDs), but I like U2 and Skillet.
  60. My favorite song to listen to when I'm working out is "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.
  61. My favorite color is green.  It's also my favorite color to wear.
  62. I used to love to shop at Ricki's, but that was before kids, when I had more opportunities to wear nicer clothes.  Now I like to shop at Reitman's and Old Navy, when I actually take the time to shop for myself (which is rare).
  63. I currently own 3 diaper bags and 6 purses (not counting my grad/wedding purse which is too small to be of any use and is put away with my wedding dress). I received 3 of my purses for free.
  64. I don't like the way nail polish feels on my fingernails.
  65. I prefer flats to heels. I have terrible feet (I wear orthotic sandals at home) and high heels do not agree with them. It's a bit of a shame though, because Carey is almost 8 inches taller than me, so I could easily get away with heels without towering over him!
  66. When I was little I hated wearing fancy dresses, but I actually quite enjoy getting dressed up now. I also love to wear a casual dress or skirt on a hot day.
  67. I first got my ears pierced when I was in grade 5 or 6 (can't remember exactly now, but I know it was around Christmas time). I now have 3 holes in each ear, and I used to have my left cartilage pierced but I took that out a few years ago. I wear small hoops in all my holes and rarely change them because it's such a pain to get the hoops back in. Also, I don't like wearing heavy earrings.
  68. In addition to the holes in my ears, I've also had my eyebrow pierced (only for a few months), my belly button (had to take that one out because it was getting infected and the doctor told me my body was pushing it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother paid him to say that), and my nose. I got my nose pierced in a dorm room at Trinity Western University almost 10 years ago.
  69. I attended 3 different post-secondary schools - I did the "School of Discipleship" (now known as "Outtatown") one-year program through Canadian Mennonite University, then I went to Trinity Western University in Langely, BC for a year, and then I went to University of Manitoba for 2 years.
  70. I have a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and I've worked several different jobs (none that had anything to do with psychology), but I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
  71. I am happy that I have the opportunity to be at home raising our children right now, although sometimes it is very hard.
  72. I waitressed at Smitty's while I was in university.  I always worked the supper shift, which consisted of a lot of "senior specials".  I dropped 2 full plates once, right in front of the table they were supposed to go to.
  73. I used to be co-owner of the online store Tiny TreeHugger, however, I sold my share to my partner a few months after Emmett was born, as I was having a hard time balancing work and family.  I don't think I'll pursue another "work at home" venture, or if I do, it won't be until the kids are a bit older.
  74. Are you content?  This was a question someone asked me, and it was very difficult to answer, probably because I don't like to admit the answer.  The truth is, I have not learned to be fully content yet.  I'm very grateful for all the blessings in my life, and most of the time I'm happy with the person I am today, but there is still that longing at times for something more, something different. 
  75. I dream of the day when I'll have a list of activities that I like to do in my "spare time". Right now, when I have "spare time", I usually crash in front of the TV or the computer.
  76. I'd like to be able to sew (I've started working on this one!).
  77. I know how to play piano, flute and guitar, but I haven't played piano or flute for a long time. 
  78. I've always dreamed of learning to play the violin.
  79. I taught myself to play guitar when I was 18, with the help of a few friends along the way.  I've played guitar in the worship team at our church since I was 20 (with the exception of 2 "maternity" breaks). 
  80. I don't have any tattoos and don't have any desire to ever get one.
  81. I have never smoked a cigarette, but I have taken a few puffs of a cigar.
  82. I've never done drugs.
  83. I've never had a speeding ticket or a car accident (other than the time I swerved and hit the snow bank - actually did more damage to my car than what I would've expected).
  84. I'm afraid of heights, but I'm okay with flying (just don't like turbulence).
  85. I don't like rollercoasters.  It all started with the one at Tinkertown.
  86. Once I was at Rainbow Stage with a friend, and the line-up for the bathrooms was so long that we went and peed in the bushes in the park instead of waiting in line.
  87. I became a Christian when I was little, and rededicated my life to Christ when I was 12, at Red Rock Bible Camp.
  88. I was baptised when I was 19.
  89. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
  90. I don't like raw onions, however, I don't mind them cooked (and I love french onion soup, onion dip, and onion rings). My reason for avoiding them is that they leave a bad taste in my mouth for about 2-3 days afterwards, that no amount of brushing or mouthwash or gum can get rid of.
  91. I like having breakfast for supper (pancakes, eggs, bacon, waffles, crepes, french toast, omelettes, mmmm I'm getting hungry!).
  92. I would rather cook than clean up, but honestly, I don't really like doing either. I also don't like going grocery shopping.
  93. I have an incredible sweet tooth. If I'm in a snacking mood, I almost always go for sweet over salty. If I do have a salty snack, I'll often have a little something sweet afterwards (like a few chocolate chips), to restore the balance.
  94. I'm bothered by spelling/grammatical mistakes.
  95. My biggest pet peeve is my cordless phone. The base rings even if the phone is not on the base, so it always throws me off because I think the phone is on the base but it isn't (which leads to me running around frantically saying "where's the phone, where's the phone".)
  96. My 3 greatest physical accomplishments are climbing a live volcano in Guatemala (climbing up volcanic rock is very tricky - you slide backwards every time you take a step), running 5K (I've hated running most of my life and never thought I'd be able to run that distance, and actually enjoy it too!), and giving birth to Emmett without any pain medication (I never planned to go through childbirth without drugs, and I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it - not like I had much of a choice though!).
  97. Outside of Canada and the States, I've also been to Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
  98. I'd like to go to India one day.
  99. I believe that sometimes a baby (or a child) needs to just cry it out.
  100. It often feels weird to me to hold other people's babies.

So there you have it!  That's me!  Hope you had fun reading it - I enjoyed writing it. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tales from the lake

We came home yesterday from an extended weekend at the cabin with my parents (which is why I've been MIA lately).  We went out on Friday afternoon and Carey came home on Sunday evening, while I stayed out with the kids and my parents for a few extra days (it's my parents' cabin).  We were thinking of maybe staying until today, but the heat was making everyone a little cranky, so we decided to come home yesterday afternoon.  Also, I needed to come home to my own bed, in my own room.  At the lake we sleep in the guest cabin (which is new and beautiful and has a ceiling fan and I love it), however, it is only 2 rooms - a bathroom and a bedroom.  So all 4 of us sleep in the same room.  When Carey was there I didn't really have a problem sleeping, but I found when it was just me and the kids, I was waking up all the time - either to pee, or because it was so hot, or Emmett was crying, or Annika was making noise -- I just couldn't get a good night's sleep.  But even though I didn't have great nights, we still had a lot of fun.  A bunch of things happened that could each be their own blog post, but I'm going to roll them all into one here (so this might be sort of long).  Consider yourself warned.

I washed cloth diapers by hand
I know what you're thinking - ewwwwww!!!  But it actually wasn't even that gross!  I almost always bring along the cloth diapers for when we're at the lake, since we have to haul all the garbage out of there anyways, so we either take home a bag of dirty cloth diapers or a bag of dirty disposables (which, in my opinion, smell way worse than cloth diapers).  However, usually we're only there for 2 or 3 days, which I have enough diapers for.  Since we were planning to be at the lake for 4-5 days, I had packed all the cloth diapers, plus some disposables for when the cloth ran out.  However, at the end of the first day, I thought, why don't I just wash out these 7 or 8 diapers now (rather than in 3 days when they're all gross and stinky from sitting around) and then I can avoid using the disposables.  So I did it!  I took everything down to the end of the dock and I put it all in the big mesh bag that I use to hold Annika's beach toys.  I held onto the bag handles and swished it in the lake, to rinse out all the pee (luckily there were no gross poopy diapers that day).  Then I put a bit of environmentally-friendly detergent in the baby bathtub (which we brought down for Emmett to use, but so far he likes bathing in the lake better), and gave it all a good wash.  Then rinse rinse rinse in the lake again.  It didn't take long, and I put everything on the drying rack and it was dry by the next day.  However, since we didn't end up staying 5 days, I didn't actually need the diapers I washed.  But now I can say that I've washed cloth diapers by hand!

Babywearing in the lake
I got to break in my new water wrap this weekend.  It worked really well, and dried quite quickly (which, given the heat, was no surprise!).  Emmett really liked it too.  He's a real water baby.

A small, but important, victory
As I mentioned, we all slept in the same room together, and I didn't sleep well.  On Monday and Tuesday mornings Emmett woke up at 6:30am, and both times I put him into bed with me so he would go back to sleep (and hopefully not wake up Annika).  On Tuesday morning he woke again at 7:30, and cried about 2 times before going back to sleep.  However, those 2 cries were enough to wake Annika, and I was scared that she was going to want to crawl into bed with us (and crawl all over us), and wake Emmett up.  So I didn't roll over and acknowledge that she was awake.  I pretended that I was still sleeping.  And I heard her reach into her bag, and pull out a book and look through it.  Without a word.  In her bed.  And then another book - still perfectly quiet except for the pages turning.  Without realizing it, I drifted back to sleep.  I woke up when she came to my bedside and said, "mommy I have to pee."  As I turned and looked at the clock (realizing then that I had fallen back asleep), I smiled to myself - it was 7:57, almost 8:00.  Which is the time that her clock turns green when we're at home.  It was as if she knew.

An artist in the making
In an effort to divert Annika's attention from the lake (she loves to go swimming and would probably spend all her time in there if we let her), we got out some watercolors and big pieces of paper and got creative.  It was really neat to see her joy in painting, and it was even neater to see everyone else get into it as well.  Even my dad did a painting!  Unfortunately all the pictures of us painting are on my mom's camera, so I don't have any to post right now.

Update on Emmett's eczema
I don't know if it was the heat, the humidity, the sunshine, the fresh air, or all of the above, but Emmett's skin got so much better while we were at the lake.  I'm hoping it's actually because I started keeping his hazelwood necklace on him all the time.  For the first few days after I got it, I'd been putting it around his neck while he was awake, and then trying to move it to his ankle for naps (and taking it off completely for nights), and it didn't seem to be making any difference.  I got tired of constantly moving it around, so I just put in on his ankle and left it there (even for nights).  That was right around the time that his skin started really improving.  By the time we came home yesterday his skin was almost completely clear - just a few little spots that hadn't quite healed yet.  But otherwise it was soft and smooth and beautiful, just like a baby's skin should be.  So I'm hoping and praying that it's the necklace that made the difference, and that it will stay this way.

A few other pictures

Emmett's floaty turtle

Check out the pose - a model in the making?

Love these kids!

Emmett loves his lifejacket. :P

Fast asleep on the ride home (the 3 of us crammed into the backseat of my parents' Jeep)

So that was our weekend!  And if you've been keeping track, this is my 99th post, which means next up is my "100 things about me" post, to celebrate 100 blog posts!  Stay tuned!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Selfish mommy

Thanks to the encouraging comments on my last post about the "OK to Wake" clock, I've decided to stick to my guns and enforce the "stay in your room till the clock turns green" rule, even if it means that some days may start off with a few tears (hopefully just from Annika) until we get through this phase.

At first I was having some trouble with this decision, because it seems so selfish.  Annika needs to stay in her room because I want a little more time to myself.  She's upset because I want a few more minutes before I need to kick it into high gear.  It's really all about me.  But you know what?  Sometimes it is about me.  Sometimes I need to be selfish to be a better mommy.  I think mothers often put their kids (and husbands too) ahead of themselves so much that they end up feeling burnt out and resentful.  We're so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves.  We lose a lot of those little things that make us feel like a person, not just a mommy.  Or maybe it's just me that feels that way, but I'm guessing that there are others out there that can relate.  As I've said before, I'm the type of person who definitely needs time alone to "recharge."  So, yes, maybe I'm being selfish for making Annika stay in her room, but if I'm happier and more patient and able to be a better mother because I have a few moments to myself in the morning, then I think it's worth it. 

So I'll admit it - sometimes I'm a selfish mommy.  Sometimes I don't want to eat the left-over crusts; sometimes I want to go to the bathroom with the door closed; sometimes I don't want to share my last M&M.  But if being a little selfish sometimes makes me a better mother the rest of the times, then I think it's okay.  At least sometimes. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to minimize stress while packing for a weekend away

I posted a while ago about how I found packing up for a weekend away so stressful and that I was usually a wreck by the time we got our on way.  I tried to do things a bit differently when packing up for the July long weekend at the lake, and I found it quite a bit less stressful than our first weekend away in June.  Hopefully these things will also help me as I prepare for our next get-away.
Here are a few of the things I did:

Make a list
Or, if you're like me, make lots of lists.  I made a list for each person in our family, a food list (both refrigerated and un-refrigerated), a toys list, an "extras" list, a bedding list, etc.  I love lists.  I was very specific in my lists, so I knew beforehand what needed to be laundered or bought, and then when packing I was sure not to forget anything (although I did forget one thing from my list - Carey's reading light.  I'll have to add that to the list right now!).  Not only are lists helpful, but if you're Type A neurotic like me, you'll also get a great sense of satisfaction as you cross items of your lists. ;)

On my last post about packing, someone gave me the suggestion of having a "lake bag" for each person, and the clothes in those bags would go to the lake, come home, be washed and then get put back into the bag right away, to await the next weekend away.  I like this idea, but we don't quite have large enough wardrobes to do this. However, there are some items that we don't use on a regular basis (like bathing suits, towels, cool-weather items like sweaters and pants) that I have "packed" in advance.  For Annika, I designated a drawer in her dresser (since she doesn't use all the drawers yet) for lake items.  That way they're still easily accessible, if we have a trip to the splash park or we need a sweater for a chilly morning, but after they're used, they go back in the drawer and they're ready to be packed in just a few minutes.  I've also done this with my toiletry bag - I have a travel version of pretty much everything we use (toothbrushes, shampoo, lotions, contact lens stuff, etc).  I just need to throw in my glasses and it's ready to go.  I've also started a travel toiletry bag for the kids' stuff too (it's not quite complete yet, but it's a start).

Do laundry the day before
This one is pretty obvious, but I always seem to leave it to the last minute, and then have bags sitting around waiting for one or two more things to come out of the dryer. It's a lot easier to pack when everything's clean and ready to be packed.

Clear your "to-do" list the day (or week) before packing day
This goes together with getting the laundry done the day before.  Perhaps I'm the only one who is this disorganized, but I often have other non-packing-related things to get done that get left until packing day - give the kids a bath, pick up a few items from the grocery store, stop at the library, wash the dishes, etc.  I found that trying to do all these other things, as well as pack, just adds to my stress level.  By getting these things done ahead of time, it makes packing so much easier.

Get rid of the kids
I think this is the most important one of all.  It's amazing how much easier it is to get everything organized and packed in just an hour or two of completely uninterrupted time.  Hurray for grandmas! :)

So there you have it.  I know a lot of it is just common sense, but it really helped me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My son and his bling

who needs pants in summer? :)
In my attempt to manage Emmett's eczema naturally, there was one more thing that I read about that I wanted to give a try - a hazelwood necklace.  So I ordered one a while ago from a website called Tiny Teethers and it arrived yesterday.  Unlike the amber necklace, which is supposed to give off something wonderful that is then absorbed into skin, hazelwood is said to work its magic by absorbing excess acid from the body (so, like the amber, it has to be worn right on the skin to be effective).  The little info card that came with the necklace said that hazelwood is said to help with heartburn, gastric reflux, teething, skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and acne, arthritis, constipation, migraines, cavities and any other problem associated with excess acid.  I wish I knew about this while I was pregnant - I had heartburn and acid reflux like crazy!  It would've been interesting to see if it actually made a difference.

The necklace is really cute - and they have lots of options for the colored beads between the hazelwood beads.  The necklace we ordered is shorter than the amber necklace we have, which is nice.  I wasn't sure about length when getting the amber necklace, and it's a bit too long, and Emmett could actually put it in his mouth if he wanted to (the baby necklaces are not supposed to reach their mouths).  I'm thinking about trying to shorten it, but I'm a little scared that I won't be able to get it back together afterwards!  Unlike the amber necklace, this necklace doesn't have knots between each bead, but it's made with a nylon-covered steel thread so it won't break, and the clasp is designed to break open if too much tension is applied.  However, the beads won't fall off the necklace even if the clasp opens, because they are sealed on the thread.  They also have bigger sizes for adults, as well as bracelets and anklets.  And as a bonus, shipping is free if you are just ordering jewellery (they also sell hazelwood lotion and ointment for which shipping is extra).

So, now we'll give this a try on Emmett and see if it makes a difference.  His skin has actually improved quite a bit since I started using the pumpkin soap and body butter from Rocky Mountain Soap Company on him regularly (at least I think that's what is making the difference).  The other day I actually gave him mixed grain cereal (which included wheat) and he didn't seem to have any reaction to it.  I've also been giving him probiotics every day, and I've started adding a little ground flaxseed to his cereal each morning (flaxseed is high in Omega-3, which is supposed to help eczema).  I've also gone back to putting socks on his hands each night (even if his skin is looking okay), as I think he does most of his scratching at night.  I almost never see him scratching during the day, so it must be something he does in him sleep.  We actually saw him doing it the other night when we peeked in on him before we went to bed.  He was fast asleep, but he was scratching at his face.

Just a little update on how his amber necklace is working - I'm still a little unsure of its effectiveness.  No teeth yet, but I'm pretty sure that Emmett has started teething, as I see him rubbing at his gums all the time (with his hands, or whatever else he can get his hands on).  Also the drool just pours out of him - he usually goes through 2 or 3 shirts a day.  So I don't think that the necklace is helping with reducing the amount of drool (or maybe it is, and it would be even worse without the necklace!).  However, I think that the necklace may be helping with reducing the pain of teething.  Even though he's drooling and chewing everything like crazy, he doesn't seem to be in pain.  And so far he hasn't woken up at night in pain (even though we take the necklace off him for night).  I think I remember that when Annika was this age, she would wake up at night and we'd have to give her some teething gel and Tylenol to get her back to sleep.  So maybe it is working.  He also hasn't had those bright red "teething cheeks" yet, but maybe that just comes later.  I can't remember now whether Annika got red cheeks before she actually got teeth, or if that only happened later.

Anyway, at least he looks cool, with all his bling!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nice while it lasted...

It seems as though the magic is wearing off of the "OK to Wake" clock.  I figured it would probably happen eventually, but I was hoping it would be longer than 3 weeks.  The past few mornings Annika has come out of her room before the clock turned green, and it's happened a few times at quiet time too (I've started making quiet time a bit shorter, to make it easier for her to stay in her room).  She doesn't seem too concerned anymore about waiting and watching for it to turn green.  I'm not quite sure how to deal with it - on one hand, I'd really like to enforce the fact that she has to stay in her room until it turns green, but on the other hand, is it worth the fight?  Especially when she's up in the morning, and it's only about 10 minutes until her "wake up" time.  Is it really worth it to start a fight first thing in the morning, over 10 minutes?  However, she doesn't really have any sense of time - when she wakes up she doesn't know if it's 10 minutes until the clock turns green, or 30 minutes, and if I let her get away with coming out of her room for the 10 minutes, then she'll think she can do it for the 30 minutes too.  (I'll admit, I'm being very selfish here - but it's been so nice to have some time to myself in the morning, or just with Emmett, even if it is just 10 minutes).

I'm hoping that this is just part of a phase that she's going through.  Lately she's been more difficult (which I hope is a short-lived phase).  For a while things were going quite well - especially at supper time - and that seems to have changed.  Lately she hasn't been listening very well, and even punishments and threats of punishments don't seem to make any difference to her.  Usually I give her a count to 3 warning, and that's enough to make her listen, but the other day I said to her "Annika" (in that "I'm warning you" tone) and she replied "one... two..." - like she knew I was going to start counting, and she figured she'd just do it for me.  Supper times have also been more difficult again lately.  Like I said, I'm hoping this is just a phase, and I'm guessing that it has to do with the attention that we've been giving Emmett lately.  He's learned to sit on his own, he's eating all kinds of new foods, and he's teething (no teeth yet though), so he's been getting more attention from us lately.  I'm sure she notices that, and it is at least partly the reason for her behaviour.  I need to work on giving her more positive attention, so hopefully she'll stop seeking the negative attention.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Parmesan-Baked Salmon recipe

I haven't done a "healthier eating" post for a while, but I've been doing pretty good at sticking to my goals.  I've been finding different recipes for making fish once a week, and I wanted to share this salmon recipe, as it's become a favorite of mine (unfortunately, not a favorite of Annika's but I'll still keep making it anyway).  This recipe is from the Kraft Canada website.

Parmesan-Baked Salmon

1/4 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
2 Tbsp Kraft 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (it doesn't sound like much, but it gives it a nice kick)
4 salmon fillets (I usually do 2 fillets, and do half the recipe)
2 tsp lemon juice
10 Ritz Crackers, crushed (about 1/3 cup)      

Heat oven to 400°F.  Mix dressing, cheese and pepper until well blended.  Place fish in shallow foil-lined pan; drizzle with lemon juice. Top with dressing mixture; spread to evenly cover fish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs.  Bake 12 to 15 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork (I've been using frozen fillets, so I bake them at 450 for 20 min, as directed on the package).

It's pretty easy to make (ready in about half an hour) and quite delicious.  I definitely recommend it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer babywearing

I've really been enjoying babywearing with Emmett, but one of the challenges that I've encountered lately is the hot weather.  It's hot enough outside as is, never mind strapping a 20 lb heater to your chest (and the added heat of the wrap, which is dark brown and sucks up heat from the sun).  The Boba is somewhat cooler than the wrap, but it's not something I want to wear at the beach or in the water when it might get wet.  And after one trip to the lake and one trip to the splash park, I'm finding that Emmett doesn't really like to be left on dry land while everyone else is in the water (and I don't like just leaving him on a towel or blanket by himself either).  So I've been eyeing water wraps online lately (a water wrap is made from a lightweight fabric like mesh that will dry quickly).  There are some beautiful ones out there, but the crafty side of me, that pokes its head out every now and then, said "I bet I could make one of those."  And I did!  (thanks to my mom for the advice and letting me use her sewing machine).  The fabric and notions cost about the same price as the wraps I was looking at online (when you add in shipping), but instead of just getting one wrap for my money, I'll actually get 3, so I'm hoping to make the other 2 as baby gifts. 
Here's a few pics of my handiwork.

Trying it on after cutting.  The micro mesh doesn't have as much stretch to it as my Sleepy Wrap, so it will take a bit of practice to tie it with the right tension (Emmett was getting a bit of a squeeze here).  It also may give a bit more when wet.

All finished!  It's about 15 feet long, so I didn't try to take a picture of it all stretched out.  I turned the edges and zig-zagged them to keep them from fraying.  I cut the fabric so it tapered on the ends, so there would be less bulk hanging down after it was tied.  I also sewed on a little tag to mark the middle (makes it easier to tie), and I made a matching drawstring bag.

Ready to be thrown into the beach bag!

Close up of my middle marker.  No mistaking this beauty for a store-bought version. :)  (as if my craftsmanship didn't give it away!  I need more sewing practice!!).

I'm very happy with my finished product, and actually quite proud of myself for making it instead of buying it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Natural products - are they worth it?

Lately I've been thinking a lot more about the products that we use on and around our bodies, and I'm wondering whether it's worth it to make the switch to using all-natural products (as much as possible).  This has mainly stemmed from my reading about how to treat Emmett's eczema.  I'd like to be able to control it without slathering him in a lot of unnecessary chemicals, if at all possible.  So, from there I thought - if I'm using all-natural products on Emmett, then should I on Annika as well?  And what about myself and Carey?  Wouldn't it stand to reason that we would all benefit from it?  So I've been doing some reading and here's a list of some of the yucky stuff that we routinely put on our bodies (info taken from and

Sulfates (sodium or ammonium lauryl/laureth/myreth sulfate)
Synthetic ingredients used to create foam or to allow liquid to spread or absorb easily. Commonly found in soap, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. Sulfates are known to irritate the skin and in some cases cause eczema. Sulfates have also been linked to cancer. Like many other commercial ingredients, it is also a xenoestrogen, making it's way to the bloodstream and causing hormonal imbalances in the body.

Synthetic Parabens (methyl, proply, ethyl, butyl)
Synthetic preservatives used in lotions, gels, shampoos, toners, deodorants, antiperspirants and sunscreens. Synthetic parabens have the potential to mimic estrogen which can result in reproductive abnormalities and breast cancer.

Ingredients used to enhance fragrance or make it last longer. They are commonly found in perfumes, fragrance, hair products, deodorants, body lotions and nail polish. Unfortunately they are NOT required to be listed on labels as they are classified as proprietary. This is a cause for concern as consumers have no real way of knowing which products contain them. In order to be a savvy consumer avoid products that claim an ingredient as ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’.  They are also used as a softening agent in plastics. Phthalates can be irritating to asthma sufferers, cause headaches, migraines, dizziness and are being linked to disrupting hormone levels, feminizing males in the womb and blocking natural hormone receptors in females.

Ingredients found in petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, and propylene glycol which are unfortunately in the base of most personal care products such as lip balms, baby moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. Sulfates, parabens and phthalates are all either derived from petrochemicals or contaminated with them. The scary part is that research has shown they potentially cause cancer, disrupt DNA, and can cause birth defects. 

Phosphates are used for their superior cleaning power as they eliminate the soap scum residue leftover from cleaning. Phosphates are made from a phosphorus base, which is a very important mineral for plants and animals. However, the chemical balance of phosphorus is very important to keep in check. Excess phosphorus into rivers, lakes and fresh water can offset the delicate balance of biology and produce an excess of algae and bacteria, making water inhabitable for aquatic life, unsuitable for swimming or ingesting.

Chlorine is very irritating to the skin. It dries out the skin's natural oils and can cause rashes, hives, soreness and irritation to the eyes, lungs and mucus membranes. Chlorine is mostly found in bleach and many detergents and cleaning products. Commonly used to kill unwanted bacteria, when released into oceans, chlorine can kill a large amount of natural bacterias needed for certain aquatic life. An abundance of chlorine has changed the chemical composition of the oceans, which could destroy the symbiotic balance of bacteria in healthy areas of water. Although it has anti-fungal properties to it, there are much healthier alternatives to your skin and to the environment.

I think that using less chemicals and more natural products has become more accepted when it comes to cleaning our homes (doesn't almost everyone have a Norwex cloth these days?), but it still has a ways to go when it comes to our personal products.  Although, I think that a lot of mainstream companies are realizing that consumers are looking for things that are "greener" and are trying to make their products seem like they're green, even if they're not.  For example, the Aveeno brand.  I've used Aveeno lotion, body wash and shampoo on the kids, because it seems like a more natural choice.  And it does have some natural ingredients in it, but when I took a closer look at the labels, I found quite a few of the lovelies listed above.  I believe they call that "greenwashing" - making a product seem like a more natural or environmentally-friendly choice, even though it is not.

I have three main concerns with switching over to all-natural personal products - cost, availability and effectiveness.  Most natural products that I've come across cost quite a bit more than regular products - and usually there's no coupons for them (I like coupons :) ).  Recently I went to the Rocky Mountain Soap Company store, and it didn't take long to rack up quite a bill.  I bought some all-natural, unscented, tear-free shampoo for the kids, and it was $13 for the bottle (although it should last for quite a while).  The other thing is availability - most of these products aren't available at your local grocery store or Wal-Mart.  We had to drive across the city to go to Rocky Mountain Soap (which is why I bought several things - I wanted to make it worth the trip!).  With 2 kids in tow, I don't like having to go to a lot of different places when I need stuff - I like the convenience of one-stop shopping.  The last thing is effectiveness - if I'm paying more for these products, and going out of my way to buy them, then I want them to work.  My main reason for going to Rocky Mountain Soap was to get their "eczema relief" kit for Emmett.  I'd read a lot of reviews and testimonies online about how great it is, but when I tried it on him, it didn't seem to make much of a difference, so that really disappointed me.  But we'll try it for a little bit longer and see if it helps.  I haven't been using the soap regularly on him, so it might make a difference if I did that.  Sometimes, though, I think natural products can work better than synthetic ones.  For a while I used the Norwex organic night cream, and I absolutely loved it.  I'm not sure if you could see the difference, but I could definitely feel the difference on my skin.  However, since it cost 3 times what my other moisturizer cost, I only used it when I received it as a birthday or Christmas present.  I ran out a while ago, and went back to my old moisturizer, since I couldn't justify the cost.

There are benefits, too, of buying all-natural products (besides avoiding all the chemicals).  One of the benefits is the opportunity to support smaller, and even local, businesses.  I know it sounds like a bit of a oxymoron that I like shopping at a place like Wal-Mart and I also want to support small, local businesses.  Truth is that I don't really like Wal-Mart, but it's a necessary evil for me.  I don't go there often, only when I have to (usually to stock up on formula), and I hope that one day I'll be Wal-Mart-free.  But for now, it's very convenient.  Anyway, back to local businesses - a lot of the natural products are made right here in Canada, some even in Winnipeg.  There's a great store called Tiber River Naturals that was started by a Winnipeg mom, making soap in her home.  Their products are still made right here in Winnipeg.

So, as you can tell, I'm still kind of on the fence.  Is it worth it or not?  Perhaps I'll start slowly, with a few things here and there.  Most of the stuff I use on the kids is all-natural, so I think that's a good start.  What about in your household?  Do you think it's worth it to use all-natural personal products or household cleaners?  What are some of your favs?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ask me anything...

... but I don't promise that I'll answer!

I'm soon approaching my 100th post and I'm going to do a "100 things about me" post to celebrate it.  So, if there's anything you want to know about me, ask away and I may answer your question in that post (or I may not - after all, both my mother and my mother-in-law read my blog!).  If you don't want to leave your question in the comments here, feel free to email me at pamcakes14[at]hotmail[dot]com or send me a message on Facebook.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Beach baby

This past weekend was Emmett's first trip to the lake and he loved it. :)  He's definitely a water baby, just like his sister.