Monday, January 30, 2012

10 minutes

On a solo-parent-night last week, I made Ethiopian Lentil Stew and Injera Bread for dinner.  After it took one boy 1.5 hours to finish, I then decided to give haircuts.  Middle one was so irritated at this point, he would not sit still.  As he jerked his head, the scissors caught his ear, and all wails broke loose.  Jude sat wide-eyed, watching the whole thing.  When older one sat down for his turn, Jude tells him "If you complain, mom will clip your ear."  {Rookie error.  I will now only make grilled cheese when dad's not home, and no haircuts. What was I thinking?!}  
Ah, we laugh now :)
Naturally, our days are wild. unpredictable. loud. fast. full.
{Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna lose my mind!!}  Because of this, we all need a break now and then.  A night out with the girls, a quiet morning with a cup of coffee, a date with my love.  A chance to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.  
But when we start living for the next break, we can miss the beauty in the now.  I've been trying to figure out what to do with those extra 10 minutes post-facebook. How to make the most of these moments. 

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
~ Annie Dillard

To not just enjoy the view from the top, but to grab that snowboard and go!
I may not be as good as my 7 year old, but hey, it's fun to try :)

To say YES! as much as possible.
I mean, when did using ketchup and mustard containers as water bottles ever hurt anyone?  Or, seeing if a paper boat could float?  Just look at this smile...
To break out the good bowls.  To see *this moment* as a special occasion.

To let them know how much you love them.
Life isn't always so fairytale-looking.  Sometimes you wake up to grumps and your basement a river-flowing down there, flood.  
And, we may not always respond the way we should.  
But, 10 minutes?  It's a start...  
To awake. To kiss. Turn up the music loud and dance. Sit down with a cup of tea. Pick up the phone. Tell someone you love them. List your blessings. Memorize a verse. Write a note. Say YES! Pray for whoever comes to mind. Drop everything to hear about their day. Scoop them up on your lap. Laugh. Take a walk.  Risk. To live! To find more pictures like this on my son's camera.
I think I like how the day sounds through this new song.  
Oh, won't you sing along?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

homemade dishwasher detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent.  Seemingly, a paradox.  I mean, you have a dishwasher to have to do one less thing, to have more time to do something else.  So, why make dishwasher detergent? Besides the fact that I appreciate a paradox now and then...

It takes 5 minutes, and saves you $31. Plus, some days it's just easier to make it up rather than run to the store.  I tried this recipe last year on a day we were out, and I didn't feel like dragging 3 sick kids to the store.  For me, it worked well, if I switched back and forth between homemade and store-bought.  But, there is also the risk of borax I didn't like.  So, another winter-y, blizzard-y day that this mama didn't want to trek to the store, I found this and LOVE!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1/2 cup Dr. Bronner's sal suds or pure-castile soap {I use the pure-castile soap, because it's what we had on hand.}
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 drops essential oil {I use lemongrass, which is antibacterial, insecticidal, antimicrobial, antiseptic.  Would also recommend tea tree - something with disinfecting properties.}
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Mix in a bottle.  Shake well before each use.  Use 1 Tablespoon per load.  
I also fill the rinse aid compartment with distilled white vinegar.  
I've been using this daily for 3 weeks now and haven't had a problem with it.  It cleans well and doesn't leave streaks.

Here's the math!  
{I take no credit for the math, except for pasting it from the original recipe.}
Dr. Bronners Sal Suds: {$12.29 for 32 oz. on Amazon} It is a super-concentrated, natural, all-purpose cleaner that is gentle on the skin. It works well in hard & soft water. You could also use Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in any scent. 
Lemon Juice: {$1 for squeezy lemon thing, anywhere!} Fights soap residue & cuts grease.
Lemongrass essential oil: {$5 at health food store} Natural anti viral & anti bacterial.
White vinegar: {$1 at Walmart} Rinse aid. Leaves your dishes sparkling & gets rid of residue.

How does it compare?
Just looking at the Sal suds, with one bottle, you can make this recipe 8 times. Each time you make the recipe you get about 20-24 loads...So.. 24x8= 192. 192 loads of dirty dishes for about $18 {add all the ingredients prices up}. Sound good? I think so!
Let's use Cascade Complete as an example of a store bought detergent.
It is about $7 for 26 loads. 26 goes into 192 about 7 times... so.. 7x7= 49.
$49 vs. $18 for 192 loads??

I think the homemade dishwasher detergent wins the price battle.  


I'll be back with "10 minutes."
Since giving up facebook, I'm realizing just how many 10 minutes there are in a day.  We're on a mission to see just how meaningful these moments can be.

The ambitions we have will become the stories we live.
~ Donald Miller

Friday, January 20, 2012

simplify, part 1

About this new resolve to live simply... 
I’m still flushing out what this means for me.  ‘Cuz naturally, 
our life is complicated.  Some of this I have no control over.  Other things {like making our own dishwashing detergent} are a choice.  And when it stands in the way of having a quiet heart, it’s time to run to the store for some Cascade. But for me, the very thought of a trip to the store in this blizzard is enough to make my own.  
Simplifying is subjective, really.  

{Cue Scene 1: The day I quit Facebook.}  

This is a touchy subject, and it may have been better to just delete my account rather than to try to explain myself.  As soon as I hit post on my breaking-up-with-facebook status, there was both relief and fear.  Relief from finally doing it, the freedom of letting go.  Fear of losing the chance to keep in touch with “old” friends.  Fear of the risk of being misunderstood.  I still feel like it is worth the risk to take a step back.
  Not sayin’ facebook is wrong or a waste of time.  Just sayin' I feel like it was taking away attention and energy and emotion from those around me, from the life before me. 

Teach us to make the most of our time,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
~ psalm 90.12

Happy Weekend-ing!
Yes, that is an orange we lit on fire.  It burned for hours!  Who knew?
Directions here.  
P.S. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent {new and improved!} coming up next!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

cinnabun muffins {grain-free}

Never thought I'd see the day I would be writing a post about making muffins out of almonds.  
I guess, today's the day.
Muffins.  Out of almonds.
And, a mighty fine muffin it is.

Cinnabun Muffins 
{gluten-free, grain-free, so-good!}
1 cup almond flour
2 T. coconut flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, eggs and vanilla.  Sift together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.  Combine the dry ingredients with the oil mixture.  Spoon into a greased muffin pan until 2/3rds-full.  Top with a mixture of 1 T. cinnamon, 2 T. brown sugar (or sucanat), 1 T. oil.  Sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.  Makes 9 muffins.
source: inspired by, adapted from elana's pantry

What makes a good muffin and a cup of coffee in the morning taste even better?  Redirecting my thoughts, fixing my gaze, basking in mercy.  

My Father's mercies are new every morning.  May this mama's be new as well.
Wishing you all a feliz dia as well!

Friday, January 13, 2012

before and after

One year ago, we became the elated owners of one. big. ol'. mess...
laced with wondrous possibilities.
Folks, the "before" and "after" day has officially arrived.
Here she is!  
Before: January 12, 2011
After: January 13, 2012

|the back|

|front door|
and, after!

|living room|

in process...


|one of my favorite spots|

in process...


|standing in the kitchen, facing the dining room/living room|

|the kitchen|
in process...


before {we tried to salvage those cool built-in cabinets, but couldn't because of the mold and the nasty}

|guest room|

in process
{hubby put some elbow grease into these babies}

|the boys' room|

in process...

|master bedroom|
in process...


|upstairs bathroom|
before {astroturf and all}
in process...


|downstairs bathroom|
{wish we had a good before pic, but just imagine...
it was way worse than the upstairs bathroom...}

We made it!  Oh man, I can't believe what we just we did.
Some dinners looked like this {daddy scraping paint}:

Saturday mornings looked like this:

But, it's done.
And we are so very thankful.

Thankful for this season of life the Lord has brought us through.
Thankful for lessons learned along the way.  To not lose the vision of what could become.  To pour our energy, courage, resources, time into repairing something the world had condemned.  To not give up hope.  Oh, how I want my life to be so much more of this!  Not redoing another house, but investing in something that will outlast these four walls.  One great day this will all pass away when the ultimate Before and After returns {Revelation 22.12}.  

Thankful He doesn't just leave us in our helpless state.  But continues in His work of transforming, renewing, restoring.  May the pictures of this earth never outshine the beauty that is to come!  And, may the award we are seeking be for the honor of the One named Faithful and True, the King of kings, Lord of lords {Revelation 19}.  

Then the King will say to those on the right: 
"Come, you who are blessed by my Father, 
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  
For I was hungry, and you fed me.  I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.  
I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  
I was naked, and you gave me clothing.  I was sick, and you cared for me.  
I was in prison, and you visited me."  Matthew 25.34-36 {NLT}

Thankful for the chance to be involved in His restoration project.  
This house may look nice.  But it is worthless if it is not used as a tool to invest in our true home.

At that time, I will deal with all who oppressed you;
I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered.
I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
~ Zephaniah 3.19-20a {NIV}