Sunday, February 27, 2011

Books: Homespun Gifts and Homespun Memories

I was looking for something fun for gifts especially personal gifts to give.  I always go very generic but I am really wanting my gifts to be more personal and heart-felt.  I follow Karen Ehman's blog and actually took a class of hers at a conference.  The other day on got on the library's website to see if she has wrote any books.  I came across two that interest me.

Homespun Gifts from the Heart- this gives great ideas on gifts to give and recipes.  So far I love it!

Homespun Memories for the Heart- This book is how to celebrate special days and make memories that will last.

Check them out!

Organize: Financial Peace University

I know many of you have heard of FPU or Dave Ramsey.  Well we took the class last spring and loved it.  It was so helpful and informative.  We have put many of the principals into practice.  If you can find a class in your area I would encourage you to take it.

It will help you get perspective on your spending and savings.  I have always left most of the financial issues up to Shawn - so don't ask me about retirement, IRA's, Mortgages...  Through FPU I did learn about many financial issues that I never understood because Dave speaks the simple language about them.

Dave Ramsey is very funny and really keeps you attention the whole time.  The resources he provides are unbelievable.  If you take the class, make sure you buy the packet because it is worth your money.  Also if you take the class once you become a lifetime member and can take the class for free again and again and again.

FPU helped us with our budgeting especially going to cash only!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cleaning: Green Solutions

I don't like cleaning with chemicals specifically because I don't want the kids to get into them.  Cleaning products is the last thing I want to have to worry about protecting from them so I clean mostly with Vinegar!  Doesn't smell the best but if the kids get into it, it won't hurt them please they won't like the taste either.  I picked up this book at the library the other and typed out the cleaning solutions that I am going to try.  It was a great book with LOTS of information.

From Book: Clean Home, Green Home (KNACK-Make it Easy- Kimberly Delaney)

Dishwashing Soap
  • ¼ cup castile soap
  • ½ cup water
  • 5-10 drops lavender or rosemary essential oil
  • Combine in a reusable glass bottle with pour spout for easy use

All-purpose Solution
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • ½ teaspoon castile soap
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Combine in large spray bottle and shake until borax dissolves.  Store and use indefinitely.

Antibacterial Spray
  • 10-12 drops lavender oil or tea tree oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Store and use indefinitely in small spray bottles

Damp Dusting Spray
  • ½ cup white distilled vinegar
  • A few drops olive oil or jojoba oil
  • 3-5 drops essential oil or choice (optional)

Polish Recipe
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Combine ingredients and shake well

To get rid of water or heat rings on your table
  • Wipe the area with a damp sponge
  • Mix mayo and fireplace ask to a paste.  The ash grit buffs the finish and the mayo lubricates the wood
  • Dip soft cotton or flannel cloth in the mixture and rub onto area
  • Wipe the paste off with cloth.  Polish the table to even out the look

Glass and Mirror Cleaner- Beginner
  • 1 cup white distille vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon castile soap
  • 2 cups water
  • Combine and store in spray bottle.  Keep the ratio of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and you can fill any size bottle.

Glass and Mirror Cleaner- Advanced
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Combine and store in spray bottle

Easy Laundry Soap
  • ⅛ cup castile soap
  • ½ cup washing soda (to cut grease)
  • ½ cup borax (to remove stains)
  • Optional: Add ¼ cup vinegar to rinse cycle to soften fabrics and water
  • Combine.  If your clothes don’t feel clean enough, increase the castile soap until you’re satisfied with the results.

DIY Fabric Softner
  • Add ¼ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothes and eliminate static

Leather Cleaner
  • ½ cup jojoba oil
  • ⅛ cup distilled white vinegar
  • Rub into leather with a soft cloth for cleaning and conditioning.  Do no use on suede.

Sealed wood floor damp-mop solution
  • ⅛ cup castile soap
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 2 gallons warm water
  • Optional addition: If you’re cleaning up a spill that may have bacteria in it, add 10-20 drops of lavender, rosemary, tea tree or eucalyptus oil to mixture

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Exercise: P90X

I am starting P90X and starting a blog about it.

You can follow it at

Organize: Wii Storage Case

Last Christmas I bought Shawn this fun tool tote for $9.99 at Sears
Sears Tool Tote- Link

It is 14 months later and he has still not used this for tools we use it for the Wii Items.  It is a cheap way to keep it all together especially when taking it somewhere.

Organize: Dinner Menu Ideas

One of the most stressful things is planning meals for the family.  I have come up with a few ideas that has helped me in planning.

Monday- Mexican Monday or Meatless Monday
Tuesday- Take-Out Tuesday or Crock Pot Tuesday
Wednesday- Pasta Wednesday
Thursday- American Thursday or Grill Thursday
Friday- Pizza Friday
Saturday- New Recipe Saturday
Sunday- Family Style Dinner Sunday

You could also make one day for Leftovers if you have them or your family likes them!

I wish I could make them all go together like Mexican Monday, Take-Out Tuesday but I couldn't.  I hope this helps gets your mind going and help you in planning your meals.

Here is a link to a post I did a while back that might be helpful as well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Children: Harvest Healthy Kids

Bryson just got his first birthday invitation from a kid in his kindergarten class and he is so excited!  Of course I am excited too because it is at this place in Livonia called Harvest Healthy Kids.  I looked them up on the web and it looks like a great place.  They offer lots of programs for kids so I think I am going to try one out with Keelin just to see how it is and then we will check it out for the birthday party too!

Here is the link if you live in the area:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Organize: Pens that I LOVE

Just wanted to share something that I LOVE.  It is a simple sharpie pen but it is amazing to write with and it doesn't bleed through the paper.  You can get them at any store like Wal-Mart, Target, Office Stores.

Fun Stuff: Travels to Niagara-On-The-Lakes- Winery Tour

This past weekend our friends took Shawn and I on a Winery Tour within the city of Niagara-On-The-Lakes.  I have never really had wine before besides at Weddings which was very nasty to me.  I am a water drinker so anything with flavor is hard for me to just used too.  So we started our winery tour at Thirty Bench.

Thirty Bench was very rustic looking from the outside but so contemporary on the inside.  The room where we tastied overlooked the vineyard plus over the water which you could see Toronto in the distance.  Just beautiful!  The first wine tasting we learned the proper way to taste wine.  You get your wine, you swirl it around in the glass, you smell it.  Then you swirl it around again, smell it and this time you taste it.  Before you determine if you do or don't like it they say give it three sips.  So I did and it made a huge difference.  If I would have decided on taste one I would have not liked any of them.  We tasted two white wines and an Ice Wine.  With Ice Wine, you have to let it sit in your mouth for about 10 seconds so you get all the flavors inside of just letting it go down.  It is more like a syrup but really sweet and good.  Of course, sweet is my thing!

Thirty Bench-

Next we made our way to an organic Winery - Tawase.  We got to see the cellar and how they process the wine.  Very detailed process.  This vineyard has lambs, chicken and ducks that help care of the vineyard by eating the weeds and fertilizing.  It was a great experience there.


Next we headed to Vineland where we met Ted.  Ted was gentlemen who served us during the wine tasting.  He was so fun and Shawn really had fun with him.  At Vineland they have a little chapel where you can get married and the whole back of the chapel is windows that overlook the vineyard.  I know it would look amazing during the summer time when the vines are full.


After Vineland, we needed lunch so we went to the restaurant called The Old Winery- it was delicious!
The Old Winery-

To finish the day off we stopped by Peller Winery which was just stunning.  Gorgeous estate!  There was some delicious wine as well


After Peller we drove through Niagara-On-The-Lakes which is a very cute and small town on the lake.   We drove to our hotel in Niagara Falls to stay.  It was so fun to see the falls frozen.

For my first wine tasting experience, I learned a lot and the wine wasn't so bad after a few tastings.  I figured out that I don't like red wines but I do like the Riesling White Wines and the Ice Wines.

In the morning, we went to see the falls in the daylight which was just breathtaking to see.  It is amazing how there is ice but a huge fall with gushing water.

We had a few more wineries to hit on the way home. 

First we stopped at The Ice House where they are known for Ice Wine.  They make an Ice Wine slush that was the best thing I had tasted all weekend.  It was a cute rustic place but it was great to taste wine with food and chocolate.

The Ice House-

We swung back into Peller Estates so we could see the cellar since they were setting up for a party the night before.  They set up a table in the cellar that can seat up to 87 people.  It was so pretty down there!

We made our next stop at Hillebrand.  At Hillebrand we tasted some good wines plus our wine server was just the best.  She was so entertaining and we just laughed and had a good time with her.


Next we made our final stop at Ravine.  It is a small winery but so fantasic.  It is an old house that they have remodeled but kept some of the old stuff as well.  I really loved all the wood work.  We ate lunch at their little restaurant which was delicious.  Very unique food but so tasty.

All in all it was a great first wine tasting experience and I would definitely do it again!  I was amazed at the estates and all the different tastes the different wines had. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fun Stuff- Gift "Baxes"

Gift Baxes are a mix between a gift bag and a box.  

Here is how you do it:

Supplies Needed:
  • Cereal Box
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Ribbon*
  • Tissue Paper
*(For the Ribbon use as thick and wide as you want.  I used a sheer ribbon 
because it was what I have but I would go something much thicker)
1- Trim the top flaps from a cereal box

2-Wrap the box like you would wrap a present.  Leaving about 2 inches of paper free at the open end of the box. 

3- For the free paper cut at the corners down to the top of the box.  This will make it cleaner when folding it in.

4- Fold the free paper inside the box and tape to secure it
5- Grab your hole puncher and punch two holes in each side towards the top.  You can decide how far apart you want them.

6- Measure you ribbon and feed it through your punched holes to make the handle.  Knot a few times so the ribbon will not come loose when you carry it.

7- Put your gift in with tissue paper and you have your sturdy "Gift Bax"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Exercise: A Beginner Runner

Last year a friend and myself decided that we were going to train for a 5k.  Before this time I was able to run about 1 mile on the treadmill and then I was done and the I just walked or did the elliptical.  So we set out on the mission to accomplish the 5k.  It seems like a huge number but it is 3.1 miles.  We ran outside and I ran on the treadmill.  We started in the spring of 2009 and ran a few times a week with some training program we found online.  To our amazement on Thanksgiving Morning of 2009 we ran in the Detroit Turkey Trot.  Believe it or not we didn't pass out or die.  It was pretty earlier to wake up for especially on a holiday but it was a great tradition to start.

After accomplishing our first 5k another group of ladies decided to train using the Couch to 5k.  It was a great training program for those who have never recent years that is.  This group ran the Turkey Trot in 2010 and did amazing.  If I could tell you each one of their success stories you would be amazed.

The Ladies who trained together weekly

The Whole Gang who ran- we even had fans to cheer us on
Now we are onto training for a 10k.  We have discovered an App for your IPod touch or IPhone that is amazing and you don't have to think about when you walk and when to run.  You can listen to your own music and it tells you "Walk Now", "Run Now", "Workout Complete".  Stress free!  I hate to watch the clock when I run so this has been very good for me and for the ladies who are training as well.  

Here is the link to the app: Couch to 10k App for IPod and IPhone
Here is the link for on on the web that you can print off: Couch to 10k Website Instructions

Here is the link to the app: Couch to 5k App for IPod and IPhone

Here is a Facebook Link to 5k: Facebook Link for couch to 5k- On their facebook page you can see a whole list of websites that will have plans on them.

If you don't have an IPod or IPhone, if is crazy because you do have to watch the clock the whole time.  Just to give you a heads up, here is an example:
Week 1, Day 1 in the Couch to 10k: 5 minute Warm Up, then run 30 seconds and walk 4:30 minutes seven times.

Happy Running!  Take it one mile at a time and you will get there!

Since Spring of 2009 these are the runs I have ran:
Livonia Turkey Trot - 5k November 2009

Detroit Turkey Trot - 5k November 2009

Livonia Turkey Trot- 5k November 2010

Detroit Turkey Trot- 5k November 2010

Jingle Bell Run - 5k December 2010 (I had to walk most of this because I was pushing two kids in a double stroller and the little girl started fussy at mile marker 1.  It was the worst day of my life).

Exercise: What I LOVE- DVD's

I love to exercise.  Sometimes I do get in a rut where I do nothing which is not good and doesn't feel good.  I wanted to share some DVD's that I have done and really do love.

Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner our my favorite!  I bought them all at Wal-Mart or  I put the link under each one for Amazon.

I am still waiting to look like either one of these ladies!
Jillian Michaels 6 week Six Pack