Friday, October 28, 2011

Oak Trees, Mold, and Dust Mites

On Wednesday we took Ethan to an allergist for testing.  He hated the tests.  He screamed and shook and screamed... it was horrible.  He was terrified.  I don't think the tests hurt nearly as bad as he made it seem, but he was scared.  Cory and I were both there trying to calm him down the best that we could.  Heartbreaking, but I am glad we did it.

 The results were worth the trouble.  Turns out he does NOT have food allergies which we are very thankful for.  Instead he is allergic to oak trees, mold, and dust mites.  Dust mites are the worst because they are everywhere.  I enjoy a clean house though, but some times lack motivation.  Now, I have complete motivation.  This weekend we'll pick up pillow covers and a bed cover which should help eliminate dust mites.  We also moved our dogs outside over a month ago.  That is supposed to help a ton.  Dust mites populate in areas where people sleep and where dogs sleep. 

So, my question for my readers is: What products should I use for dusting?  When I cleared out all the toxic sprays for cleaning my house and switched to Method cleaning products and vinegar, I also switched to dry dusting with a microfiber towel.  Well, I read that dry dusting is 93% less effective with removing dust particles and getting rid of dust mites.  That is a huge percent!  So what type of toxin-free product do you suggest for dusting? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipes for Cleaning

I changed this post a bit.  I found many recipes for laundry detergent and went with the one that uses 1 cup borax instead of 1/2 cup borax. 

I did it!  I made my own laundry detergent this weekend and it was super easy, fun, and made my kitchen smell really fresh!  Here is the recipe I used (taken from this website):

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Most homemade laundry detergent recipes out there contain the same ingredients:
1. 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
2. 1 cup of Washing Soda
3. ½ cup of Borax powder  1 cup Borax powder (cleans really well)

To make a powdered detergent, cut the soap into small pieces and then powder it in a food processor or blender (I use my Pampered Chef cheese grater and then put it in a food processor) . Mix this with the washing soda and borax. Use 1-2 tsps per load depending on the size of the load and the amount of soil.
Super cheap and super yummy smelling!  I've read that you can use different types of bar soaps instead of the fels-naptha if you prefer. 

The next recipe I'll try is for homemade dish detergent (from the same website):

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

• 1 cup washing soda
• 1 cup borax powder
• ½ cup salt
• ½ cup citric acid

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a glass canning jar. Use one tablespoon per load. For best results, use white vinegar in the rinse dispenser.

Ethan helped me make the laundry detergent.
And... Cory is completely on board because its cheap and smells delicious.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Trying to Create a Healthier Household

I am not by any means completely naturalistic or holistic, but I would like to say that I am trying to do more of that little by little.  Recently I had a conversation with my family about trying our hardest to cut out fast food and soda.  This will be easy to do for Cory, Ethan, Carter, and myself, but Mariah may be a bigger challenge.  She is able to buy and drink whatever she wants while at school.  They have a full cafeteria that is open the entire day.  The kids can stop in there between classes and fill up on snacks, soda, artificial juices, something called a milk shake that is just really thick milk loaded with sugar, cappuccinos, the list goes on.  So, since I can't completely control what she eats while at school, I can control what I buy for home meals and snacks. 

Getting away from processed foods sounds like a great idea; however, its close to impossible.  Just about everything we buy is processed or highly sprayed with chemicals.  We eat all these chemicals on a daily basis and then complain about our increase in allergies and other health issues.  Then we go to the doctor for medicine to try to balance the imbalance in our bodies.  As easy as that sounds... it is not healthy at all.  I would like to think that by making a couple little changes with cutting out fast food, soda, and the highly processed foods... that maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference in my families health.   

Another harsh thing that we do to our bodies is surround them with cleaning chemicals, toxins, and pesticides.  This is in addition to the world of pollution around us.  While I can't control the environment, I can control what comes in to our home.  I can do my best to reduce the use of chemicals and toxins in our home.  I have found a million ways to use white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda for all of our household needs.  I am yet to try all these ways; however, the fact that my husband hates the smell of vinegar might be a bit of a road block.  Hopefully he'll understand the benefit and jump on board soon. 

This article alone was enough to make me understand the benefit:
"This is so important. Unfortunately, the statistics are pretty scary when it comes to childhood obesity. Today's generation of kids may be the first to not outlive their parents, because we're seeing diseases in kids that we normally see in adults," Sass says. "From type 2 diabetes to high blood pressure and even heart disease. In 1976, five percent of children in the U.S. qualified as obese. Today it's 20 percent, or one-in-five kids.

I don't want to obsess over this like a fad diet, but instead I want to make some lifestyle changes with hopes that my children will carry these lifestyle changes with them.  My mom made everything homemade when we were kids.  We used cloth diapers, bought local honey, grew most of our own vegetables, made apple pies from hand picked apples from trees that weren't sprayed with chemicals.  We rarely ate fast food, never had soda in the house, and ate a lot of farm fresh meat and eggs.  So, I grew up this way, but some where in the busy world and busy way of life, I lost a lot of those values.  The harm didn't affect me so I didn't think about my poor choices.  Now I have a three year old son with possible allergies, and a rash that makes him itch like crazy.  He takes allergy medicine daily and uses a steroid cream to reduce the dry itchy skin.  I don't want this for him.  He's only three and shouldn't be filled with medicine.  I don't want Carter to have these issues either.  Luckily for Mariah I didn't use a pesticide in the house every three months, I didn't feed her as much fast food and processed foods, and I didn't let her drink soda until junior high. 

Life gets busy, we forget, and we pick the easy road.  Ads are confusing, misleading, and truly makes all the bad foods look amazingly delicious. 

My next step will be considering cancelling my pesticide contract... this will be the hardest change for me.  I hate bugs.  Terrified of bugs.  Want nothing to do with bugs and spiders and centipedes.  However, I love my family and their health is more important.  Maybe allowing pesticides outside my home and not inside will be my first step. 

The other thing I want to do more for fun than anything is to make my own laundry soap.  It's pretty natural, it's fun, it smells good (I've been told), it's extremely cheap, and it's very gentle on clothes and skin.  These are a lot of changes at once and I'll send my family in to shock if I make them all instantly.  So, I'll slowly make a couple of these changes and hopefully my family will find it fun and jump on board. 

Last night we had raw carrots for dinner along with mac-n-cheese (yup, highly processed - I'm not perfect or crazy) and strip steak with tortillas.  The big change was introducing the raw carrots in to the meal instead of canned vegetables.  We loved eating the big raw carrots and the best part was teaching Ethan how to peal them.  He LOVED it.  He couldn't stop talking about how mommy taught him how to peal a carrot. 
I love seeing him so proud to learn. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family Pictures

I've finally uploaded all of the pictures from our family photo shoot
with Lindsay McGowan Photography

Click on the following link to see them: Our Family Pictures 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homecoming 2011

Mariah went to Homecoming this past weekend with her friends Cameron, Paige, and Martin.  The four of them were a blast to photograph.  We took a couple pictures at Paige's house, then brought them to our house for dinner, then caught a couple more pictures in our yard. 

The girls posing like Charlie's Angels

The guys lookin' cool 
My beautiful daughter

 The group

Cameron... that's a pretty crazy smile

So pretty