Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Inspiring Inspiration

What inspires me?

I was thinking about this after I spent about 2 hours reading crafting and organizing blogs this morning.  (and before 7:30.   &*^$%# menopause - waking me up at 5:00 am)

Today's the first full day of summer break for the kids.  I thought some "ME" time to brace myself, till I get my tolerance to people home all day built back up might not be a bad thing.  I decided to go ahead and get up.

I found myself totally inspired by my surfing session.
  • Cute craft projects.  It's been awhile since I've had a good old fashioned crafting session.
  • Fabulous pictures of gorgeous scenery. 
  • Pictures of clutter free closets.  No really.  I'm not kidding.
  • The women who write these blogs, and their stories.
Now if only I'd thought to save links to those images.  If only there was a way to do that electronically, while I'm doing what I like to call, "Blogsearch."  (that's short for "blog research"...you know, it's part of my job as a blogger.  "Blog", being short for "web log.")

There is?? ... There is a way?? 

Doh !!  I could have had a Pinterest !!

Next time, I promise I'll pin them.  But, in the meantime, have some fun wandering around the web on your own.  See what sort of inspiration you can find.  If you need a place to start - some of my favorites are on the "blogs I like" tab. 

And now for something completely different.  I know it's going to be received as oversharing.  But I made a sugar scrub a few weeks ago.  With brown sugar, good olive oil, and grapefruit essential oil.  I used it this morning.  Apparently it's delicious, cause my dog won't stop licking my legs.  "Unh, get off me Wiener Dog !!"


Monday, June 25, 2012

"mom...I'm bored"...sigh

Say it with me, "Go clean your room." 

And so last weekend, on a rainy Saturday, when I realized I was indeed bored, I cleaned my room.  It started out innocently enough.  Just put away the laundry from Friday.  But as so often happens, once you get to puttin' away, it's kinda hard to stop.

This past winter, I gave a talk at a MOPS meeting about homemaking shortcuts.  One of my faves, and best received tip was... to sleep like Europeans.  (It might have been a fave, cause of my props.  I brought a blow up bed, complete with blow up headboard.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera. )

The tip?  Do away with top sheets and utilize the duvet cover as your sheet.  (like they do in Europe)  I knew I was going to meet with some pushback on that one.  Nobody likes to change a duvet cover.  But, I'm here to tell (type) you, a duvet cover can be changed by one person in less time than it takes to put on and tuck in a top sheet, and making the bed in the morning becomes simply a matter of pulling up the comforter.  PHWOOP, bed is made.  Literally.

How?  How is this possible? 

Back to cleaning my room.  The last thing I did in my room cleaning expedition was to change the bed.  I asked myself, "Self, since the room is no longer an embarrasing junk pile and the husband is home, why not have him photograph me changing the duvet cover?"

What follows is a duvet cover changing tutorial.  We timed it, and it took me two minutes, start to finish. 

Step one: Lay your duvet cover inside out on your comforter of choice.   (hint:  it always ends up inside out when you take it off the comforter.  Just leave it that way when you wash it.)

If your cover comes equipped with little ties in the corner, go ahead and tie them around the corners of the comforter.  It really does help to keep the comforter in place. 

Step two:  From the bottom, reach up inside the duvet cover and walk your hand up to the top corner...

...grab hold of the corner and duvet cover from inside the cover and pull the corner through.

Step three:  Repeat the process on the other side.

Step four:  pull the duvet cover straight down to the bottom on each side and stuff the lower corners of the comforter into the lower corners of the duvet cover.

(Those buttons to be buttoned outside in across the bottom..."fuggedaboudem".  One button, in the middle is all you need, especially if you have a footboard.)

Final step:  The big finish.  Flip and Fluff.  The "g" forces take care of the rest. 

And there you have it.  (probably should have taken a final picture of the bed all neatly made, but the hubs was knee deep in rebuilding my computer after a crash.  He had to go.) 

Couple of notes: 

I have two duvet covers made out of 100% cotton, with a 300 or more thread count.  (basically, made out of sheeting material, so they're comfy against the skin.)  I got them on sale, and paid roughly what I'd pay for a set of sheets. 

I buy plain white fitted sheets for the bed.  Don't have to worry about them clashing with my duvet covers : ) 

Final caveat - the first few times you try this, it'll be a little time consuming...but once you get the hang of it, two minutes or less.  Guaranteed.   (for me, it was the second or third time I tried it ...and believe me, I'm no mechanical genius.  Though I do have an incredible sense of direction.  I'll save that for another post.) 

Happy Homekeeping !!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Soap Box Alert...Where has all the common sense gone?

I read a news article this morning about a little girl who got horribly sunburned at school.  http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/kids-come-home-school-bad-sunburns-responsible-172200498.html

Turns out the school was one not too far from where I grew up.  But in a nutshell, the school was having a field day.  It was cloudy in the morning, and the mom didn't think to sunscreen up her girls before they went to school.  (though even if she had, by noontime, the sunscreen probably would not have been very effective) 

The sun, as it sometimes does in the Pac NW, came out in the afternoon.  And when it comes out around here, it doesn't mess around. 

Our state has laws in place, designed to "Protect our Children."  (In reality, they are designed to protect our schools and teachers from lawsuits.  Lawsuits, which admittedly, do happen.)  But these laws have rendered common sense completely useless.  You see, our "medication guidelines" restrict teachers from applying sunscreen to students.  The children cannot even bring sunscreen to school, unless they have a note from the DOCTOR. 

"Hi, I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor.  Please bill my insurance, I'll cover the co-pay, and take up the doctors valuable time having him fill out an official school permission form for SUNSCREEN."

Sure, I get it.  Some medications are dangerous and toxic.  For instance, the medication for ADHD.  It's actually an amphetamine. It's got some street value.  Kids sell it to their friends.  (which , they do outside of school just as much as they do in school.)  But, a child comes home from school with a second degree sunburn - which increases the child's risk of developing skin cancer later in life - because the teacher was barred from putting sunscreen on a student, and the student was barred from having sunscreen at school.  (hmm, that could generate a lawsuit or two down the road, skin cancer caused by ridiculously stringent medication guidelines)

My daughters elementary school has gone so far as to have an "allergy" table in the lunchroom.  Yes, that's right, if you're allergic to peanuts, gluten, you name it, you are segregated from the general lunch population.  And made to eat with the "allergy" kids.  (that's what the other kids call them)

My daughter, by the way, is unable to digest the protein in dairy.  Does the school know this?  Nope.  I don't dare tell them, cause I don't want her to get busted over to the "allergy table."  Instead, I've done was most parents of children with food allergies and intolerances have done for years.  I've taught my child to ask "does this have dairy in it?"  And she asks this about everything.  It's actually kind of funny.  If she's offered juice, "Does it have dairy?"  If she's offered strawberries, "Does it have dairy?"  Her intolerance is not life threatening, just painful, so I'm not really putting her safety at risk with my bold statement.  But...even for those kids who are at risk, well the rest of the world doesn't come equipped with allergy tables... do you see where I'm going with this?

My other big question, I've yet to have satisfactorily answered, is this.  "Why are children more flammable at night?"  Don't tell the pajama police, but I've been making my kids pajamas for years out of 100% pure breathable cotton, without added flame retardant chemicals as required by the Federal Flammability Standards for Children's Sleepwear.  Risking their very lives in the process, I know.  But, I'd rather have them sleeping in comfort than sleeping in a toxic soup of chemicals and sweat on the off chance our home bursts into flames. 

This from the CPSC guidelines for production of  children's sleepwear

 What if sleepwear fails the flammability tests?

Rejected units may not be retested, used, or promoted

for use in children’s sleepwear. Rejected units can be
destroyed, exported (only with CPSC approval) ...

Apparently, the CPSC does think it's okay to set foreign children aflame in their jammies.  (btw, I made the "exported" all big and standy outy.  That's not formatting from the CPSC)

And don't even get me started on how quickly polyester nightgowns pill up and fall apart.  Just as an aside, a little observation if you will.  While polyester doesn't burn, it does in fact melt.  Into a solid lump of black plastic.  Hmm, flaming cotton which could theoretically be removed or molten plastic?  You make the call. 

Oh look at that, there's another CPSC clothing recall - seems someone sold a child's hooded jacket with drawstrings....again...oh the horror.  When will these people ever learn !!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lots to think about...

It's been a crazy week in the Pac Northwest.  Seattle grabbed world headlines with a day of violence.  One man, mentally ill, clearly, shot five people in a coffee bar then went downtown and shot another woman and stole her car.  Five of those people died.  The gunman then killed himself, later in the day.

First off, I'm not going to get into the gun control debate.  I honestly don't know where I stand on that issue.  I just know, you cannot plan for every contingency.  You do the best you can with what you have to work with.  And invariably, someone will escape detection, fall through the cracks, etc.  I hope I'm not coming across as defeatist by saying that.  I'm quite the opposite.  I have very high regard for my fellow man.  I think the vast vast majority of the people I share this earth with are good people.  People, who would not go out of their way to purposely cause trouble or pain to others.  People like this gunman are the anomaly.  Many many people struggle with mental illness.  Most do not go on shooting rampages.  I don't think the community at large has anything more to fear today than it did on Tuesday - before this happened. 

Obviously, the news focus the day of the shooting was on the shooting itself, and apprehending the suspect, who was on the loose for several hours.  What I'm heartened about, is the media coverage following that. 

In the last two days, I've felt like I've lost people I've known...which is a good way to feel in a situation like that, as far as I'm concerned.  No, I never met any of them, nor do I know anyone who knew them.  But the media has done a good job of covering who these people were.  They are not just "six people shot in Seattle."  We've learned that two were musicians in the alternative rock scene.  One was an aspiring actress.  Another was a wife and mom from the suburbs, in town for the day.

We've learned of the goodness of the average man. 

We learned about a homeless man, a convicted felon, who came to the aid of the wife and mother.  He was with her as she lay dying.  He prayed for her.  He told her she was not alone.  What a great reminder that homeless people are first and foremost, people. 

We've learned of other people, ordinary citizens, who came to this woman's side as well.  Came to her, while the gunman was driving away in front of them.  They could have just as easily been shot, but they all said they didn't realize that until later.  They just saw the woman on the ground and knew she needed help.

We've learned about a man in the coffee shop, who threw a bar stool at the gunman, which allowed two or three people to escape the shop unharmed.  We learned about the barista in the coffee shop, who though critically injured himself was able to call 911.  The barista is the only shooting victim to survive.

Nobody is accepting the title "hero." 

We've watched the community come together over this tragedy. 

We've been reminded of another set of victims in this tragedy.  That would be the family of the gunman.  Their grief is so multi layered.  It's more than most of us can comprehend.  I know a little bit about what that's like. 

I spent the first six years of my life in North Tacoma.  Ted Bundy was my parents newspaper boy when they were first married.  One of his close friends, David, lived next door to us.  I'm told I sat on his lap, though I have no memory of this.  It's not unlikely though, I would have been a very little girl, and I sat on a lot of laps when I was a very little girl.   I certainly remember sitting on David's lap.  Bundy's parents were part of the community my family was a part of.  They were ordinary people, who went to the same annual Christmas party we did.  I have no idea if they are still alive.  They would likely be in their 80's if they are.  But they became nearly as notorious as their son, even despised by some.  The media was quick to assign blame to the parents.  What a thing they had to live with. 

Nothing will of course change what happened.  Could it have been prevented?  Probably not.  Will good come from this?  Undoubtedly.  And I think it's totally appropriate to focus on and even celebrate that good. 

May God's grace and love shine through on all of us in these times.