Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fun, Crazy Cousins

Memorial Day weekend we stayed with Stacie and her clan for a couple of days. I already posted some Luau pictures but here a few cute miscellaneous pictures I took of the kids with their cousins. They have such a great time together! Of course it is always extra special when there is a new baby to hold.

Hailey hanging out with Lily.

Hailey and Josh snuggling in the morning.

Hailey was crossing her arms like Uncle Steve. She loves her crazy Uncle Steve.

Josiah held Lily for a little while one morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eliminating Odors Naturally

I'm really getting into natural cleaning, now. Seriously, I was addicted to household cleaners. I would try all the latest and greatest, never really finding anything that worked really well that wasn't extremely toxic. Well, having a daughter in the house who loves to put everything in her mouth has made me toss my traditional cleaners and go for some non-toxic alternatives. The natural cleaners I'm using are so cheap, easy to make and they work much better. The latest thing I've tried is a natural cleaner that eliminates odors. It works well on pet and human urine. My husband accidentally broke a one gallon jar of milk inside our pick up and it worked on that as well. It is super easy to make and you probably already have the ingredients. Here it is:
Spray Bottle (I use 32 oz from the Dollar Store)
Fill 1/2 way with distilled white vinegar
Fill the rest of the way with distilled or filtered water
(Optional) add a few drops of tea tree oil (or whatever oil you like the smell of) to help disinfect and give it a more pleasant smell.
Generously spray on area and scrub. Don't worry, the vinegar smell will go away when fully dried. If you can still smell odor, repeat process, this time sprinkling area with baking soda. Scrub, then let dry. Vacuum or scrub away any remaining baking soda residue.
I've used this on my carpet, my couch, mattresses, office chair and vehicles. Never had a spot discolor and it has always taken care of the odor as well as the stains. We also spray this on our carpets before steam cleaning them. It works awesome! Hope it works as well for you.
I'm wondering if would work on clothes, but haven't got brave enough to try it yet. Does anyone know of a natural stain remover for clothes that really works? Right now I'm using Spray 'n Wash and I'd love to find something natural and less expensive that really works.

Michael's Latest Project

Here are a couple of pictures of Michael's latest project. He welded a headache rack with two bedrails for my boss. When he was done welding, he had them powder coated. He did such a good job, I just had to put it on our blog.

Here's a picture of one of the bedrails Michael made. He's getting quite handy in the welding department.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homemade, Non-Toxic Ant Killer/Deterrent

I've been looking for a good non-toxic formula for killing the many sugar ants we get around our house. This is the easiest thing in the world and a great way to get your kids to help. Just give them a spray bottle of this stuff and let them loose on the ants/ant hills. It is completely safe and when you add peppermint oil to the mix, you mess up the ants' pheromone trail. Apparently they hate peppermint! It is safe to use on ornamental plants, but it may cause discoloration. Also, I've heard that if you find an ant hill/nest, you can pour boiling water on it and it will kill them. Another non-toxic idea is to sprinkle Borax (super cheap) anywhere you don't want ants. It will oxidize the ants. Be careful, though, because I don't know what it would do to ornamental plants or your lawn.

Homemade, Non-Toxic Ant Killer/Deterrent Recipe:

In a 16 oz spray bottle, fill half way with water. Add 3 Tbl liquid dishwashing detergent, or an enviromentally friendly liquid soap. Then add 4 tsp. peppermint oil. Shake well and spray!

Talk about easy! The soap kills the ants, the peppermint oil acts as a deterrent. If you don't want to kill the ants, just deter them, then omit the liquid soap and spray wherever you might think they might be coming in the house.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Luau Birthday Party

I told you guys I was gettin' in the mood for a Luau when I posted that pork roast recipe. I just love a themed party! We used Jessica, my niece's, 6th birthday as an excuse to learn about several Polynesian cultures and just to have some plain old fun. We all pooled our resources and ended up with all kinds of fun Luau decorations. Everyone dressed up and we even got the guys to wear flowers! Here is a picture of Jessica blowing out the candles on her two cakes. My grandma Mary made the doll cake.

Here is a picture of Mom with all her granddaughters.

My Grandma Mary with Lily, Stacie's newest baby.

I love this one of Jessica, Hailey and Josiah with the cool pinata (I know, not very Polynesian, but it was so cute, I couldn't resist). The kids had such a great time!

Stacie and I are showing off the Samoan wraps that my dear Samoan friend, Paulette, brought us from Samoa. They are just so beautiful and comfortable. You can't see it, but Paulette also gave us some Samoan jewelry that we are wearing. Stacie is wearing coconut jewelry and I'm wearing shell jewelry. The weather was perfect and a great time was had by all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My First Real Ride

I'm so excited! I just had to share. I went on two "official" rides today for the first time. For the last two weeks I've been practicing riding around just the neighborhood side streets because I really wanted to get a feel for Michael's bike before I started riding on the main roads and downtown. Well today I was getting a little bored of riding the streets and feeling pretty confident so Michael talked me into riding to one of our local parks because he thought I was ready. I rode to the park, which PTL there were very few people there, so I decided to practice parking. Riding is easy, parking the bike is a lot harder for me. I've dropped it once trying to park in our driveway, so I really felt I needed more practice before I went downtown. I felt a lot more confident after I parked it 5 different ways without dropping the bike. Yeah!
Well, tonight I had the opportunity to go downtown to our local library for a Homeschool Curriculum Fair. I was so nervous, but I decided to do it. It was so fun and I feel so much more at ease now, knowing I can drive on the main roads. Now that I know I'm capable of parking in different angles, tomorrow, I'm going to drive the bike to Curves (an exercise club for women), which will mean going through my first traffic light. It will be early in the morning so not a lot of traffic. Baby steps! I'm getting there and I'm glad I'm taking it slow. I'm having a blast! I think one of the reasons I like riding so much is because when I'm riding I'm not thinking about anything else, except that. I know that as I get more comfortable it will be a great stress reliever for me.
Want to wish everyone a good Memorial Day Weekend. Lets keep in mind those who've gone before us as we have fun this weekend.
God Bless!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Caribbean Pork Roast Recipe

I'm gettin' in the mood for a Luau party! Stacie asked me to post this recipe. It is so yummy!
Caribbean Pork Roast Recipe:

1 can (8 oz) sliced pineapple, undrained
2 Tbl sucanat or honey
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/8 tsp red pepper
3 pressed garlic cloves
1 pork roast (about 3 lbs)
2 or 3 sweet potatoes or red potatoes
1 red onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup for marinade. Combine juice, sucanat (or honey), garlic and all spices. Marinade meat all night in fridge for best taste.
Cut onion and potatoes and pineapple rings into quarters and arrange around roast. Pour marinade over meat and veggies. Sprinkle meat and veggies with a little more salt and pepper.
Cover and cook for one hour at 350 degrees.
Take lid off and cook 15 to 30 minutes longer or until meat thermometer registers 155 degrees. When done, let roast stand 10 minutes before cutting. Slice and serve with veggies.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fishing Fun

Last Friday we promised Josiah we would go fishing at our local lake. We normally always catch fish but only one bite this time. Bummer, but the kids were good sports about it. We ended up giving Hailey her birthday present very early, which was a Strawberry Shortcake fishing pole. Josiah was so excited to give it to her. The kids had a blast, all I did was try to make sure both of them stayed in the boat along with our belongings. After Hailey tossed in a new jar of fish eggs, a full box of lead sinkers and various other mysterious items, I finally got smart and hid my purse and cell phones. LOL! She had more fun throwing stuff in the water when we weren't paying attention than she did fishing. Michael tied her fishing pole to the boat, otherwise that would have gone in, too.

I've learned the key to fishing with kids is snacks, snacks and more snacks!

Here they are somewhat patiently trolling (Michael was our trolling motor).

Fishin' buddies.

The kids had to both "help" Michael row to the boat ramp. It was hilarious! He's such a great dad, I would not have had that much patience.

When we were going through town on our way home from fishing, we realized the Ag and Timber Parade was just about to start. So we decided to stop and join in the fun even though it was getting late. Hailey was exhausted by the end of it and decided to "chill" on her daddy's legs. It is honestly the nosiest parade I've ever been to, but of course the kids just loved it. Between fishing and the parade, we were ready all ready for bed that night.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cutest Buckaroos

Last weekend while I was going through my motorcycle training, Michael and Mom took Josiah and Hailey downtown for Cattle Baron Days in Pendleton. Mom entered them in the "Cutest Buckaroo Photo Contest". If you want to vote for one of them or just see their cute pictures, click on this link

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lookin' The Part

I just signed Josiah up for his first year of "real" soccer. I didn't realize how expensive the gear could get. So I started asking/looking around for used stuff. I'm so excited because today I went down to our local children's re-run shop and found a nice pair of cleats, shin guards in socks, and a nice pair of soccer shorts to go with whatever uniform shirt he ends up with. I only paid $13 for everything!As soon as we got home, Josiah put on all his gear (plus a outgrown soccer shirt he got from his cousins) and wanted to play even though it was raining outside. We start soccer towards in the end of June, so he's got awhile. He can't wait! I think it will be a great way to run some of that energy off of him.

It cracks me up how intense he is!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Legal!

I'm very excited because I passed my motorcycle endorsement test for the state of Oregon. I'm really glad I took the class because I learned so much! I've learned that I've got a lot of bad habits to break from years of riding dirt bikes. It was an intense course, but wow, was it good! I'm now practicing those skills on Michael's bike in the evenings around our quiet neighborhood. I'll stick to our our residential area until I get a better feel for Michael's bike and to make sure I can corner every corner without going into the opposite lane! I'm definitely improving and feeling more comfortable on Michael's big bike. This first picture is of me on Mom's bike in Pendleton, just after I learned I passed the test. It was the perfect end to a wonderful Mother's Day.

Can you tell I'm happy?

I'm getting a feel for Michael's bike in this picture. I'm walking it around it circles, easing the clutch in and out. This was pre-take off.

Here's a picture of me after I got home. I'm having so much fun! I can't tell you the feeling I had when I got on Michael's motorcycle and rode around the neighborhood. I never thought I'd be able to ride a bike that big. I'm really taking it slow and easy. I'm practicing the new skills I've learned and want to get them really honed before I ride on the main roads. I want to be as safe as possible!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Biker Mamma!

I'm so excited! I just got enough nerve to ride Michael's Harley around the block 4 times. I even figured out how to use the blinkers and everything. I got it up to second gear. Stopped and started at the intersections. It was so scary and exciting all at the same time. First thing I did was dump the clutch and dump it (thank God it was in the grass). I didn't hurt the bike or myself. I tried to pick it up, but no luck. I'm just not strong enough, even using my legs. If I do dump it at a stop sign, I'll have to wait until someone comes along who can help me pick it up again. Michael didn't get one picture of me, so I'm using an older picture of us (me on back), just so you can see the size of the bike. I'm off to Pendleton to do TEAM Oregon (where you learn how to ride a street bike) and to get my motorcycle endorsement this weekend. I've got my confidence up now and I feel like I'll be fine. I feel like if I can ride Michael's bike, I can ride anything! I can't believe how much easier it turns than a dirt bike. What an awesome Mother's Day gift! Happy Mother's Day to all you sweet mamma's out there!

Josiah's Cubbies Graduation

Josiah graduated from Cubbies recently. He's been talking about getting his blue ribbon for completing Cubbies ever since last year's award ceremony. As you can see he's pretty proud of himself. He can't wait to be a Spark next year. He memorized all his required verses and his teachers told me he did a great job and they would miss him. We're so proud of our little guy!

Here is Josiah getting his certificate from his Cubbie's leaders. I just want to say a big thank you to all of the AWANAS leaders. They really put a lot of hard work into this program and I'm so appreciative.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hailey's First Hair Cut

We were at the salon getting Hailey her first trim (her hair is coming in really uneven) when the hair dresser says to Josiah, “Wow, you and your sister really have some red hair.” Josiah says just as serious as can be, “Actually, Hailey has orange hair and I have red hair”.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Switchel Recipe

I got permission to post this from Homestead Mamma's blog. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to soon. Michael loves Gatorade, but he knows it isn't healthy for him, so I'm going to start packing this in his lunch when he's out in the field.

The Health Benefits of Switchel
Switchel is an old Amish drink that they use to serve during haying and other strenuous activities, used to quench thirst and restore electrolytes. It’s their form of Gatorade (LOL!) Since summer is nearing, I thought I'd post my recipe for it here. It's really easy to make and it really works well!

8 cups pure filtered water
1 cup raw honey (I found this too sweet, I would cut it in half next time)
½ cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
½ cup black strap molasses
½ tsp. Ground ginger

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until all the honey has dissolved.Serve hot in the winter or drink as a daily tea or you can serve it iced in the summer as a refreshing drink. It’s especially good to be used when you have a cold or the flue and even when your sinuses are acting up, just start drinking it at the first sign of a cold. You can drink daily as a refreshing change from water or tea. It is also a good treatment for acid reflux. The ingredients are extremely healthful, so this drink is excellent for daily use and is also safe for pregnant women.

Raw Honey:
Honey is soothing to the throat
Has anti-bacterial properties
Has anti-viral properties
Has anti-fungal properties
Is helpful in wound healing
Raises blood levels of protective anti-oxidants
Helps lower cholesterol, especially the bad LDL cholesterol

Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar:
It’s a natural stimulant
It cleanses and restores nutrients to the body so that the body can heal itself
Helps remove toxins from the body
Supports the immune system
Promotes healthy skin
Helps control weight
Improves digestion and assimilation
Sooths tight and aching joints caused by arthritis
Sooths sore muscles from exercise
It regulates the metabolism
Reduces cholesterol
Helps regulate blood pressure
Increases concentration and memory
Counteracts bladder infections, because it normalizes the pH which causes the infections
It is supposed to help balance your body’s pH.
Helps clear the sinuses
Contains potassium, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, fluorine, vitamins C, E, A, B1, B2, B6, and beta-carotene

Black Strap Molasses:
Provides iron for energy and is great for treating anemia. It provides more iron for fewer calories than meat and is fat free. It often suggested for pregnant women to consume when they are anemic during pregnancy.
Provides calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Helps prevent osteoporosis
Treats constipation
Eases joint pain caused by arthritis.
Contains manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.

Helps control motion sickness, nausea and morning sickness
It’s an anti-inflammatory which helps those who suffer with arthritis
It helps control weight
May help by preventing the growth of cancer
Helps boost your immune system
Contains potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6.

As you can see, Switchel is chock full of ingredients that are good for you and promotes health. I think it’s right up there with kefir and kombucha tea for healthy drinks!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's Raining and We've Got Eight Kids in the House!

I had a wonderful weekend with my sister and and her 6 kids. With my two, that made a total of 8 kids. It rained almost the entire weekend, so they were inside most of the time. They did really well despite being cooped up. A few squabbles, but not too bad. I decided to make it easier on myself this time and used some of my pre-prepared freezer meal that I make ahead of time. It was really nice not to spend most of the time in the kitchen. Sleeping arrangements were interesting. It is so hard to get the kids to go to sleep when they are all 10 and younger. The second night is always easier because they are so exhausted from not getting enough sleep the first night.
Stacie and I watched a two-disc movie from Netflix called "Dinner of Herbs". It was really good and had me interested the whole time. Very intriguing. We didn't stay up too late talking this time although we did have a giggling fit one night (I can't believe we didn't wake the baby) when she told me a forgotten story about her first job at a hamburger joint where they left her alone to cook and she had no idea what she was doing. They hadn't taught her a thing. She actually put some one's hot dog in the deep fryer. I can't imagine what that customer must have thought! We usually get a good case of the giggles at least once when we're together.
Michael got home that Sunday night from drill. They slept out in the rain one night at Gowen Field. I felt bad for him, but he's always such a trooper. Hailey really missed her daddy and wouldn't let him out of her sight once he got home tonight. She just loves him! Josiah is pretty used to his absences, so it doesn't bother him too much, especially if it is just a weekend that he's gone.
Well, I better get to bed as I have another busy day tomorrow in Pendleton. I'm looking forward to doing the Pendleton trip again with the second batch of homeschooling families. Hopefully, I'll remember to take some pictures.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!


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