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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cottage Weekend

This year at the cottage was bittersweet ... it may be my last.  But it was what I needed.  I needed to get away from the city.  Away from the lights.  Away from the cars.  I loved waking up at 7:30am, hearing barely the birds, going for a kayak ride, taking a sauna, running into the river, and getting out of the shower just in time for fresh coffee.

It's not about the party.  It's about that feeling.  That feeling you can only get with the smell of bonfire, with the grass and leaves under your feet, smiles on family members, and no cell phones.  It was never the party.

Thank you to Katy for making raw cookies and running in the sand with me on the long journey north.
Thank you Sam & Izaak for having more of my family members there.  I love you guys.
Thank you Jude & Gray for providing so much entertainment.
Thank you Sea for being my big brother.

So I hope I made the best of my time there, to let my soul connect, and my mind quiet enough to hear the fish swim.  I feel at peace and I hope you do too.  ~Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


It finally arrived!  After putting together one composter with a broken piece, only to find out the whole bottom was missing.  Dammit.

But thank you, CNS Stores, for sending out a replacement composter so quickly!

 I got it all put together!

They say 2/3 brown (leaves, twigs, paper) to 1/3 green (grass clippings, food waste)


Some hints to remember if you decide you want to compost (less waste in landfills and makes super soil!):

  1. Gather all grass clippings and green yard waste but be sure to mix with the "brown" materials like leaves and shredded paper to add carbon. You will need both, but if you only add grass clippings your pile will compact and start to stink.
  2. Do not compost meats or pet droppings. Stick with food scraps and yard waste only.
  3. Avoid all pesticides and/or herbicide treated material.
  4. If you add weeds to your pile make sure your pile is good and hot. It should be steaming hot, not just warm otherwise it may not kill the seeds.
  5. Turn your pile as often as you can. Each time you turn it will speed up the process.
  6. Keep your compost damp but not wet. As you add material to your pile make sure that each layer is moist as it is added. During the summer your pile will dry out and the composting process will slow down.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Save the Bees!

I've asked for a Bee house for my birthday.  If you didn't know, we're losing the bees!  SERIOUSLY!  In some areas the bee population has declined up to 85% and nobody knows why ... ooohhhhh spoooookkyy ... So plant flowers to attract bees!  I am noticing a lot of my plants have bees going to them, and I am SO EXCITED!  Here is a picture of a nice fat juicy bee sucking on my rhododendrum.  GO BEES!

FYI:  33% of the food we eat depends on pollination from bees 

For more info:
Colony Collapse Disorder
Discovery News: Bees Decline
Huffington Post
   (this one is for Sony because she loves HP!)
National Geographic

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I just have to say this:  I LOVE RAIN!  I love rain and thunderstorms and lighting.  The way the air smells like fresh and dirt and refreshing.  The way the sky lights up and the universe booms.  The pitter patter sound of the drops hitting the sidewalk, my roof, my skylight.   It's a fresh start, a new beginning.  The earth gets nourished and plants thrive.  I miss my house on Arch street in Marquette with the big porch and porch swing ... I would sit on the front porch and listen and watch all night long.

OK, I may be silly.  Most people love it when the sun is out.  Don't get me wrong.  I like a pretty day.  But nothing makes me smile like a booming thunderstorm.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Challenge

How's this for your daily goal?

Whole Living Challenge of the Day10 Issues for $10!
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Send to a Friend    ShareThis   May 16, 2011
Snack on Chocolate
In a study, people who ate dark chocolate once a week had a 22 percent reduced risk of stroke compared with those who didn't eat any.

Beautiful Weather

This is the time I have been waiting for all year.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the neighbors are swearing at the squirrels, and of course the rain has come in buckets.  It seems that my grass turned green over night, and I have more plants peeking out of the ground than I ever have before.  It makes me want to go get fertilizer NOW!  I will be using my Jerry Baker book to mix up a wake-up tonic.  When I find one to use, I will post it here.

I also can't stay away from the farmer's market and the plant stores.  I wish my mommy was here to share coffee and the farmer's market with me.

I have also purchased LUMBER to build myself a baby herb garden so I don't have to grow them in pots.  I will also post pictures, whether I succeed or I completely screw it up.


(side note ... I have put a catnip plant in my living room, and my cat Ash chews on it all the time.  He has decimated the entire plant, it now trying to get to the baby sprouts, he's high all the time, and my living room smells like pot every time he disrupts it.  But it keeps him happy!  Ahh my little pot-baby.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I woke up this morning with a HUGE burst of energy.  I don't know if I've ever "bounded" out of bed before.  I feel so GOOD!  It's going to be a good day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cleaning with Vodka

In addition to the natural recipes I listed for spring cleaning,  VODKA can be used for a number of things.  Here is the list:

Vodka is great for cleaning hard stones like diamonds. Just pour some vodka in a dish, take the ring and swish it back and forth. Dry it off and it will give a beautiful sheen. If it is really dirty, put it in and let it soak a while and then scrub with a toothbrush. Afterwards, just swish and dry.
Mold and Mildew
To remove mold and mildew from caulking, fill a spray bottle with inexpensive vodka and spray it onto the mold and mildew. Let this sit for about 15 minutes. Then scrub with a toothbrush, if necessary.
Beaded Clothing
Since we don't wear beaded clothes too often, it is a shame to pay for dry cleaning. Some beaded clothes are not cleanable and can be hard to spot clean. To freshen these, put some vodka in a small spray bottle and spritz the underarm area and neckline on the wrong side of the fabric. Hang and let air dry.
Glass and Eyeglasses
Use vodka to clean glass without leaving any streaks. Wet paper towels or even newspaper with vodka and use it to clean windows, glass table tops, eyeglasses, windshields, or any other glass
To get a sparkling shine on your eyeglasses that don't have protective coating, spritz with vodka and buff with a soft cloth. Do not use on coated lenses of eyeglasses that suggest avoiding alcohol based products.
Because of vodka's high alcohol content, it is a potent insect killer. Put a little in a spray bottle and squirt the bugs or yourself. They will be on their drunken way.
Adhesive Remover
Remove those maddening remnants of price stickers with vodka. It dissolves weak adhesives, so you can easily scrape off the sticky leavings of any labels on your products. Vodka, for the same reason, can be poured over a Band-Aid for painless removal
Houseplant Protector
Keep Aphids off houseplants. Wash off houseplants with tap water then dab the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in vodka. Do not use alcohol on delicate plants like African Violets.
Bathroom Fixures
Shine chrome, glass and porcelain bathroom fixtures. Soak a soft, clean cloth with vodka and shine.
Person Protector
Use it to kill bees and wasps.
Smoke Smell Remover
To get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke, mix one part vodka to three parts water, spray and let dry. (Don't you love the irony of this one?  Cigarettes and Vodka?  COME ON!)
Leather Cleaner
Cleaning leather - this was posted a couple of years ago by a Happy Slob reader: "I also used straight vodka to clean white paint off my son's black leather jacket. Worked great."
Pet Stains
Cleaning pet stains - of which I've encountered many! Vodka is great at lifting even tough stains. Since vodka is colorless and odorless, it won't add any additional staining to your carpet. I would be tempted to try a few tablespoons in my little carpet spot cleaner 

Spring Cleaning - House

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for SPRING CLEANING.  This year I am going to take this to mean my house, as well as my spirit.  Im not going to tell you how to clean your whole house, but here is a checklist you can follow:

Let's start with the HOUSE.  Here are some tips and natural recipes for spring cleaning:

- Open up all of your windows so the air can flow through (if it's still chilly out, open up for as long as you can handle, even if its only for 15 minutes)

- Try to do one whole project at a time.  That might mean one whole room, or one whole project (floors, dusting, throwing things away)

- Don't forget:  garbage disposal (throw in 1 cut up lemon), baseboards, refrigerator drawers, fans, tops of door jams, change smoke alarm batteries, rotate mattresses, change your furnace filter.

Most From Whole Living.  Click here for article.

Natural All-Purpose Scrub
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl. Add just enough liquid soap to make a creamy paste. Spread mixture on the flat side of 1/2 of a lemon and scrub. Use a damp rag or sponge to wipe away any residue. I used this on my shower and you still need to use a scrubby sponge, but you have to do that with chemicals too, so it might as well be natural.

Mold Remover

Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner; use it straight for tough jobs, or dilute it with water. Tea-tree oil is a natural fungicide and can help disinfect surfaces -- mix 2 teaspoons with 2 cups water. To whiten stained tiles or grout, use a mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water.All of these solutions can be sprayed onto a surface, allowed to dry, then wiped with a damp cloth.  You can also use vodka the same way you would use vinegar.

DIY Tub and Tile Cleaner

Vinegar works well on soap scum and mineral deposits, but rinse thoroughly, as it can corrode some fixtures and etch glaze on tiles. You can also try tea tree oil -- 2 drops tea tree oil with 1 cup water -- in a spray bottle. A natural antiseptic and fungicide, tea tree oil costs more than vinegar but will kill most types of mold and help prevent growth; as with all concentrated oils, it should be used with caution, as it can trigger allergic reactions if it comes into contact with skin.

Natural Carpet Stain Remove

Pour a small amount of soda water onto a fresh carpet spill, and blot with a towel. Don't rub, as you may mat the fibers. If the stain is set, try hydrogen peroxide: Pour some onto a clean, white cloth, then press cloth to carpet. Wait about 15 minutes, blot with a clean cloth. There should be no need to rinse.

Furniture Polish

Add a few drops of olive oil or jojoba oil to 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar.  If you still want that citrus scent, add 2 drops of lemon essential oil.  Make sure it is essential, and not just fragrance oil.  You can choose your scent - try lavender!

Drain Un-Clogger
Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed b 3 cups of boiling water, which converts the baking soda to sodium carbonate.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hotel toiletries & shelters

If you travel a lot, or just a little, pick up the toiletries (believe me, you're paying for them).  Most people bring their own, and disregard the generic little bottles, but homeless and women's shelters NEED these items.  Bring them home and donate the unopened bottles!

I am cleaning out my bathroom, and never realized how many I had (just in case).  I am throwing away the opened bottles, and making a bag full of unopened and dropping them off to a local shelter, along with larger bottles I have gotten as gifts and do not use, as well as a few other gently used items.

Here are commonly asked for items you may have around:

  • Soap & Body Wash
  • Shaving Cream
  • Body Lotion
  • Cleaning Products
  • Shoe Accessories (laces, polish, etc.)
  • Slippers
  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Pill Boxes
  • Can Openers
  • Back Packs & Duffel Bags
  • Sheets (Twin or Queen)
  • Bathroom Tissue
  • Paper Towels
  • Kleenex
  • Laundry Detergent

Healthy Tip

I just read this tip and wanted to share:

Wake Up with Water
“Before you put coffee, tea, or food into your body, it’s best to first break your fast with a glass of water with lemon,” says Ashley Koff, RD, a nutritionist in Los Angeles and founder of When you sleep, Koff says, your body isn’t just abstaining from food but from water too. “Because many vitamins are water-soluble, having a glass before you eat will help your body better absorb nutrients from food.” The acidity of the lemon helps rebalance your digestive tract by making it alkaline, allowing “good” bacteria in your intestines to thrive and facilitate optimal nutrient absorption.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter Fun

Well as much as I am ready for this winter to be over, the snow to be GONE, and the sun to come out, I did get to have a little bit of winter fun with my friend Donna.  On Saturday:

we went cross-country skiing

followed by a dip in the hot tub with European style sipping chocolate (thank you Trader Joe's!)

(notice that the snow was falling, and got worse as we sat there)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



I started doing this 3 years ago, but I think it fits in perfectly with my new life - it saves money because if you grow your own herbs, flowers, and veggies, you are spending less money at the grocery store.  Also, it encourages me to eat fresher meals, so NUTRITION!  It encourages COMMUNITY, as I share my extra seedlings with friends and neighbors so they can have fresh food too.  Ask Donna - she grows zucchini the size of babies!

Growing things soothes the soul

When those first little sprouts emerge - it's exciting!  I feel PROUD!

If anyone wants to know how to start your own little seeds, here are the basic instructions: (or you can just start seeds on a windowsill - just grow SOMETHING!)

You need:
Planting cups
Growing light

You need a tray under the cups so the water doesn't leak all over.  For the cups, you can use eggs cartons, yogurt cups, bottoms of 2-liters.  Anything, really.  I buy biodegradable cups with my seeds (from Lowe's) - they can be planted right into the dirt, so I have a less of a chance of screwing up my little seedlings.  For seeds, there are websites you can go to for special plants, or you can just go to your local Lowe's or Home Depot.  You can also get organic seeds.  The growing light can be purchased at any hardware store.  You need the fixture, and then the light bulbs.

Follow the directions on the seed packages - most say plant right under the surface and keep moist.  Some seeds can be planted outside at the beginning of the season.  The light should be very close to the dirt, and raised as the seedlings emerge and grow taller.

Turn on the light daily and watch them grow!  The package will tell how long each seed will take to come out.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Catch up

Ok, by urging of my sister, Sonya (she says its ok to use her real name), I will recap the last 6 weeks of my life:

Graduation - Official Master of Education (Exercise Science)

My family came in from around the country to celebrate my graduation from graduate school.  I hadn't walked for my undergraduate degree, and didn't think it was much of a big deal, but once I was up there accepting my award, and wearing my gown and tassles, ok it was pretty cool.  And it was really nice to have my whole family together, even though our brunch wasn't any good and it was cold.  What is the message in this part?  Go after your dreams.  I don't know what the hell I'm going to do next, but I followed through and it feels good.

Christmas - too many of them

I proclaim that next year we only have ONE Christmas.  I don't know if any of you have multiple families that you have to go to, but WE DON'T!!  We just happen to have four christmases with the same people!  Christmas eve at Granny's, Christmas at Granny's, presents at Sea's, more presents at Sony's.  Listen kids (and by kids I mean my adult siblings), next year, just one place.  The fact is that it's nice to be with family.  That's what the holiday is all about. Each year we have been trying to give less gifts, and give more of ourselves.  So grab a turkey (tofu for Sony), a bottle of wine (sparkling juice for Mom), and enjoy your family, even if they drive you crazy!

New Year's Eve - Official DD

If you who don't know, that stands for designated driver, as in "get everyone home safe" and laugh at those who can't say no to 1 ... or 4 ... more drinks or shots.  It was fun dancing and hanging out, and although I TRY to be non-judgemental, I have to admit it was amusing watching the people who were hanging out on the streets, or rather hanging on.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!   (Oh, and for the record, some stars that fall from the ceiling are not flimsy, and they DO hurt when they hit you in the face.)

Now .... Job Hunting

So now I am an official graduate, and the job hunt has not been fun.  For the last 2 1/2 years I have been broke, but at least I was going to class.  Now Im just broke.  So I am on the hunt, and its getting frustrating.  I have applied to hospitals, doctors offices, fitness centers.  Am I destined to be a secretary (although a very balanced secretary)?  Does anyone want to hire and incredibly charming, organized employee that has worked in almost every industry?  I think maybe my calling is to be an herbalist.  What do you think?

In the meantime I am working part-time with a good friend of mine, as well as trying to get my new year's resolution underway.  Meditation.  It's harder than I thought it would be.  Sitting in silence, and trying to get your mind to do the same is incredibly difficult.  Try it some time!  It's also incredibly good for your mental health, physical health, energy, and outlook on life.