Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Green Cleaning: Furniture Polish

I've never really liked dusting. I've actually always kind of hated it, especially when there is so little dust you can't even tell. I like for things to be dirty if I have to clean them! I like to be able to see a difference so I know there was a good reason to put that effort into it. BUT dusting is a must in this house with a couple of us having some pretty strong allergies to dust (or dust mites, to be specific, but it sounds kind of gross when you add in the mites part...). I also hate using cleaners that are full of toxic ingredients that could harm my child (or myself). So, I make our furniture polish. It's very easy, as most green cleaners are, and works super well. I actually have two recipes, since you'll need different ingredients based on the type of furniture. And actually, they both have the same ingredients, just varying amounts. Let's get to it...and then get to cleaning!

There are four ingredients. Three are shown here, with a bottle of one of the cleaners mixed up. Water (purified is best), vinegar, olive oil, and pure essential lemon oil. That's it! You probably have most of these on hand already. Don't have the lemon oil (use the real stuff, not just lemon scented somethingorother)...you can use vanilla. Or leave it out. It's not a necessary ingredient.

Furniture Polish - This is good for general, weekly polishing, especially with finished woods.

In 16oz bottle, add:
2 tsp olive oil
20 drops or more pure essential lemon oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Fill the rest of the bottle with purified water. 
Shake well before each use, as the oil and vinegar will separate. 
Spray directly on a rag or on the furniture.

Wood Furniture Polish - This is good for unfinished or lightly finished woods. 

In a small squirt bottle (not a spray bottle), add:
3/4 cup oilive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar,
50 drops or 1/4 tsp pure essential lemon oil (or pure vanilla extract)

Shake before each use. 
Pour onto rag and then apply to wood.

There you have it! Very easy. And these polishes are great! I've already converted a couple friends (some who were quite fond of their other furniture polish and weren't sure they would like this - but they loved it!). Hopefully this will convince a few more folks out there to try it, as well! ;)

And for a little fun... I'll throw in a picture of me getting ready to clean the cabin we visited last fall. Aiden got super sick as soon as we arrived (even with the allergy medicine we brought along), due to the dust hiding under the beds, behind furniture, along baseboards, on things like this...
These kinds of things are really cute, yeah. But the first thing that crosses my mind when I see them? Dust! Big-time dust collectors. This is why you will not find these things in our house. Cute. But not good for folks with dust (mite) allergies. You can't clean these things!

And here I am. Pretty, huh? I'm ready to go in fighting and tackle that dust! Since I have the same allergies, I have to wear a mask when cleaning. Even with the mask this time, I still could feel it affecting my nose and sinuses for the rest of the day. Thankfully I took along my neti pot, which helped clean it out some. And the mask helped a lot, regardless. Plus, it's a great fashion statement, no? ;) We didn't use all the ingredients for the spray above, since we were in the middle of nowhere (we drove an hour one-way just to get the vinegar and swiffer!), so I just used a bucket and dumped in water and vinegar. Great ingredients when you're lacking anything else!

That child of mine woke hourly the first two nights, crying because he couldn't stop coughing and sneezing. After I cleaned, he slept all night long without waking once. That's how I get paid for my job. Definitely worth it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back in the game. Post-Holiday return!

So, I guess it's time to get back into things here on the blog, huh? I've taken enough time "off," I suppose! I know a lot of folks post a bunch around Christmas, but we have had such an incredibly busy winter with Christmas prep (including making our yearly photo book, which I always put off and then need about a month to make it just in time), lots of sinus infections, Christmas travel (and I'm not going to blog while visiting family out of state - it's my time to just be with family and that's all), and Ryan working LOTS of overtime. During the first half of January, Camden is also tracked out of school, so we've been busy doing things while he is home this month, as well. Lots of good things (some not so fun things) going on lately. BUT it's time to get back into it here...

We did have a great Christmas, even if it was more rushed and full of allergies than we would have liked.

Before we even went anywhere, though, we had stuff to do at home...

Teacher gifts! Camden's in middle school now, so he has a LOT of teachers (and we have to add in some extras, of course, such as all of the librarians because he is always there and has gotten to know them pretty well). We made some hot cocoa mix, made snowmen marshmallows, and put it all together in a mason jar. Camden wrote a personal letter to each teacher to add in with the card. I hope they all liked their gift!! I know some people don't give gifts once the kids are in middle school. I just can't stop, though. These teachers work so hard every day, working with classrooms full of kids. And middle schoolers! Those cannot be easy some days! ;) I wish I could give so much more than a cute mason jar with hot cocoa!! They deserve so much more.

We also gave one to the mailman. We waited for him one afternoon (to make sure it was our regular guy, too!), and then ran out when he was approaching our house. Aiden ran, holding the jar (with me behind hoping he did not drop it!), yelling "Merry Christmas!!" And let me tell you, that mailman was grinning and taken by surprise and said to us, "You all just made my day." And that most certainly made mine!

Photo coasters I made for the grandparents. They all got a few of the same, and then they each got some others that we picked out specifically for them. That's a lot of coasters, you say? Well, there are four sets of grandparents (and we also made a few for Camden's biological father and his family). Each set of grandparents got six coasters, so...yeah, that's a lot of coasters!

Aiden with his very own (felt) Christmas tree that we made together one afternoon. And an apple. And cheesy grin. :)

We went to KY and WV for Christmas to be with all of our parents (there are four sets, so divide that up between 10 days, and it can get pretty busy!). Our first full day in KY, we visited with my great grandmother, who turned 92 in January. I had to hold back tears during the whole visit and afterward... Seeing her and just talking and hanging out really made me miss being back closer to all of my extended family. Made me miss "home."

 Does she not look absolutely amazing at 92 years old?! 
(I hope this runs in the family...)

Family stop #1 - My dad, stepmom, and sister

 My sister and my son... We took this because they accidentally matched. I love it because I never realized how much they look alike! It's kind of crazy, and I'm not sure how I didn't see it before!

Cousins. Two of my brother's kids hanging out with mine. They even make the same goofy faces...

 Aiden checking out the gifts I made for all the grandparents. 
This is my mom and stepdad. Christmas morning.

 Friends. BEST Friends. I'm lucky to have these folks in my life. 
More people to make me miss "home."

These little guys almost have no choice but to be best friends. 
Good thing they don't seem to mind!
They spent two entire evenings just running around the house together. 
Such a joy to see!

 Ryan's mom opening her homemade grandparent gift.

 And his dad and stepmom, too. 
(Note to self, taking a break from pictures to 
enjoy the moments means you come home with less pictures, wishing you took more.)

Getting ready to leave for home. We kept trying to get some good family shots. This one is great because it shows...neither child looking at the camera and both looking kind of silly, mama has some super swollen eyes thanks to allergies, and daddy is the only half-normal looking one here (and he's looking pretty good!).

We had a blast, got to see a lot of folks not pictured, and just enjoyed being with family for the holidays. Part of it was sad for me because, for the second year in a row, we had to miss extended family gatherings on my mom's and dad's sides of the family. (I have a huge family. Christmas is the only time I get to see much of them, since we live in another state. Unfortunately, Christmas gatherings with all of them happened when we weren't able to be there due to school schedules, etc. That was a bit tough.) It was nice getting home, though. Aiden got homesick while we were traveling, and after a couple nights kept saying he wanted to be back home in his own bed. Who knows, maybe one day we won't have to travel so much to see our family...

Now on to the new year! I've got lots of posts to get on here soon!! There are some awesome giveaways in the works already. Always lots going on. Just wish there was lots more time, right?! ;)