Friday, January 31, 2014

All Natural Disinfecting and Cleaning Spray!

I have been on the hunt for more "green" and all natural products to use around my house, especially since I have two toddlers who like to help me do everything. Today I'll show you how I made disinfecting and cleaning spray that is safe to drink (if you like the taste of vinegar), has no toxins or chemicals, and actually works!!

Here is what you need:
Orange peels
Vinegar (I useApple Cider Vinegar because then it isn't grain or corn based)
Salt (any kind)
Distilled water (or well water)
A large glass jar with lid (I used a Santa Cruz Organics lemonade bottle)

Fill a jar with orange peels. 

We don't eat that many oranges in one sitting, so we store our peels in a large 32 ounce BPA free container in the freezer. When it is full, I know I have enough to fill a jar with cleaner.

Fill the jar with orange peels and add 1 Tablespoon of salt. 

Then shake it up to get the salt to spread throughout the jar.

I had two little helpers for this part. 

Once the salt is spread about in the jar, let it sit for about 20 minutes on the counter. The salt helps pull the oil out of the peels. 

After 20 minutes, fill the jar completely with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. 
Then label it with the date and store it in a cool, dark place. 
I store mine under the kitchen sink. 

Then wait 2-3 weeks. 

After 2-3 weeks, you will need a cheesecloth and a large jar/pitcher/container. 
In this picture I have a funnel inside the jar with the cheesecloth on the top of it. 

I used two jars full of the peel, vinegar, salt, water mixture. 

Pour the liquid out of the jars, through the cheesecloth and into your waiting pitcher. 

Then funnel or pour it into a squirter bottle. 
I got this one at Walmart for $.97

Okay, time to try it out and see if it actually works. 

I didn't clean my range top for 2 days. I am a messy cook so it usually gets cleaned after every meal. This was very gross!!

I wiped off the dried stuff and then sprayed a normal amount of my cleaner spray on it. Then ..... BOOM!

It worked!!

I was super happy. I'm not a huge fan of the smell of vinegar, but man, this sure worked good. Plus with the orange essential oil in it (that is why you put the salt and peels in it first), it really helps with the cleaning power and the smell. 

I can't wait to use it on other things. Its mean, its clean and its green!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Refreshingly Easy Non-Dairy Organic Fruit Sorbet

Since I've been on a mostly liquid/mushy diet the last two weeks I have been craving flavorful foods! Plus, who doesn't love icecream? Here is a recipe that I made up for a way to make non-dairy, organic fruit sorbet that you can eat by the cupful without feeling guilty!!

Ingredients needed:
10 ounces-2 cups of your choice of fruit. I chose raspberry for this batch. The fruit can be fresh or frozen.
3 cups organic coconut milk (the kind from the box, not the canned kind)
1/4 cup raw, organic honey (I have also used organic sugar)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum (this can be omitted, it just keep more air in the sorbet mixture so that it has a softer and fluffier texture. If you don't have any lying around your house, it isn't a huge problem to leave it out)
Pinch of salt

Put the fruit, honey and xanthan gum (if using) into a Food Processor

Blend until the fruit is broken down and the honey and xanthan gum are thoroughly  mixed in. Frozen fruit will take a bit longer than fresh/ canned fruit
*I made this with home canned peaches. It was amazing!!

Add in the 3 cups of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Blend together until mixed. 

Pour into your Frozen Yogurt Maker

Then let it sit for 10-20 minutes depending on the consistency you prefer to eat it at. 
Using frozen fruit and pre-chilled coconut milk will help it set-up much quicker. 

Then when it is done, enjoy right away!

This recipe yields about 5 cups. It also freezes great if you don't eat it all in one sitting. Simply spoon it into a freezer safe, non BPA container and put in the freezer. When you are ready to enjoy it again, let it sit out on the counter for 5-10 minutes to soften a bit. That will give it a softer texture as it tends to be fairly crumbling coming straight out of the freezer. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Inconvenient Moments

A few weeks ago I found myself getting super annoyed at my daughter. She will be 4 in three weeks and for the last 6 months she has had some unusual requests....

"Mommy, can you feed me like a baby?"
"Mommy, can you carry me to bed like a baby?"
"I just need you to hold my hands." (Always asked while she is going #2)

She always seems to ask these things right when I am in the middle of trying to do something, like eating dinner. Part of me wanted to yell, "I just want to finish a meal when all of my food is still actually hot!" and then it dawned on me.... how much longer is she she going to ask me to do things like this? How long until she is pushing me out of the bathroom so she can have some privacy while she uses it? How much longer will I be strong enough to actually carry her like a baby? And do I want to miss the last time I get to feed her bites of a meal because I was so selfish?

We get moments in life with our kids. I will always have my daughter, but at the end of my life on earth I will look back on moments with her. From her first breath to my last, our relationship will transition from her needing me to do everything for her, to her wanting me to do things for her, to me wanting her to want me to do things with her, to me wanting her to do things for me and finally to her doing everything for me. We get moments with our kids. Just moments. And I want to enjoy during and look back on every moment knowing that I lived and loved to the fullest.

So now I answer her silly (and and usually inconvenient) requests with, "I would love to!" And in all truth I do.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Zoo Trip

On our way home from church this morning Gabriella asked if we could go to the zoo. We didn't have any other plans, I was feeling better and we have an annual membership so off we went!

The walrus was pressing his face right up against the glass underwater so it was super fun to get right up close to him.

Gabriella realling wanted to see the "buffalos" aka Oomingmak and then she wanted to take a picture of them to send to gramma.

There are stroller and wheelchair ramps in the zoo but the stairs are quicker. Xander thought it was hilarious the way daddy carried him up the stairs.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Focus and Hope

Today was an interesting day for me and I am heading to bed feeling very contemplative. 

It all started yesterday at 5pm. I had to drink a GALLON, yes a gallon, of prescription colon cleanser to prep for the colonoscopy I had this morning. This was my 3rd time doing a "colon cleanse" and was by far the worst! Before I even started the drink (which tasted like the salt water I garggle with a sore throat) I was defeated mentally.  I just knew that I wouldn't be able to finish it. The first 3 hours were awful. It didn't work like it was supposed to and I got incredibly sick with "rare" side effects from it. I am so thankful for my sister in law and my friend who were untraumatized by my graphic text messages asking for  prayer and about what was happening.

Things finally started working right. After spend a good two hours chatting back with a friend, who truly is the best friend ever, I was laughing, calmed down, relaxed and feeling God's incredible prescence of peace.

Matt got me dropped off at the Outpatient Surgery Center and headed to go keep the kids occupied. The nurses were all very nice, the doctor reminded me of my grampa and the phlebotomist got my IV started on the first try (the first time ever). I was feeling very calm but could feel my anxiety level starting to rise.

They wheeled me into the surgical room and my heart started racing. They were getting everything ready and I was just lying there on the table watching. I kept trying to focus on Jesus, something I always do. But nothing. It was like my mind was scattered.  A secular song was running through my head and as much as I tried to cover over it with worship songs I couldn't.  I began to pray in tongues in my head as the Medical Assistant strapped the mouth guard/guide for the endoscopy on my mouth, I was still fully awake and conscious, no sedative or medication had been given to me yet. That's when I lost it.

When I came to in the recovery area my face was crusted with dried tears. I had horrible memories of the procedures, memories that I was supposed to have been medication to sleep through. I was in pain, squirming on the table in pain, crying, and trying to talk but I couldn't.  It is the most horrible set of memories that I have.

What happened? It is so odd to me that I lost focus spiritually. God is my rock. He is the one thing that I have always, ALWAYS clung to and looked towards. When I miscarried our twins in June I didn't hear from God for 3 days. But even during that time I never lost focus of looking and searching for Him.

I'm not mad at God. I don't feel abandoned or betrayed. I don't feel alone. I just feel baffled. This morning is like a big mystery to me.

I had a hard time understanding and accepting the results they found. I have a history of Ulcerative colitis and was expecting to hear it was back and that I possibly had some damaged esophagus lining from so much acid reflux over the years. To hear that they found an ulcer on my tonsil (seriously, is that even possible?), that I had a stomach polyp (which they removed and sent to the lab), and that I had a hiatal hernia (which is why I have so much trouble swallowing) was a toal shocker. Then they found no ulcers or signs of colitis in my intestines, but took a bunch of biopsies was the final straw. I started bawling, asking them to call my husband. I have been in so much discomfort and pain that it was hard to hear they still didn't know what was causing the intestinal troubles.

Now that I am home and lying in bed, I just feel lost. I have a horrid scratch on the back of my throat and every swallow feels like razor blades. The lump in my throat makes me almost gag when I lie down and the burning in my stomach is awful. I have spent the day between falling asleep (I got no sleep last night) and crying and doing research. I am exhausted and worn out. As Bilbo Baggins would say, "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter over too much bread."

Pain wears on us. Discouragement wears on us. The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. It is true. In this trying time, as I look down the road at many more dr appointments, specialists and procedures; it is so important that I don't lose hope. "But now, LORD, what do I look for? My hope is in You." (Ps 39:7)

I may lose my focus, and my body may fail; but I will NOT lose my hope. "I remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." (Ps. 27:13).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Birthday Fun

My birthday was on the 17th of this month but I got a wild surprise on the 10th!

Matt came home at lunch (which isn't terribly uncommon). The VERY uncommon thing was when I asked him if he would like me to make him some lunch and he replied, "Nah, I'm not really hungry."

A few minutes later he headed into the living room and I heard the front door open. Then I heard nothing. I sent Gabriella into the living room (I was in the kitchen) to see what daddy was up to and still heard nothing. Then Matt called, "Emily, you have a birthday present out here. " I headed into the living room expecting a package from Mom or something, but I saw..... Jill, April and Naomi all standing there!! AAAAHHHHH!!!

I couldn't believe it!!! A few minutes later my cousin Nicole arrived too and we were off on a birthday surprise!!

We went and got some Pho for lunch...
April and Jill opted for spicy Pho!

Then Carol, Carol Dos, Knee-Highs, Coolie Cole and Fish hit the bowling lanes!

Next we all got manicures! So fun!!! 

Pretty nails!!

We ate dinner back at the house and then Nicole had to head back to Vancouver since she had work the next day. Gabriella and Xander loved her!

The rest of us stayed up WAY too late eating chocolate, watching girlie movies and throwing cereal at each other. 

We were up the next morning early and after a power breakfast of oatmeal we were off to Seattle!
(Here we are in a traffic standstill 1 mile down I5 from my house)

We hit the troll under the bridge
(as seen in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You)

And Gas Works park
(where they filmed the paintball scene in the same movie)

Ah Seattle. You are one of my favorite places in the whole world!!

It was CRAZY windy!!! Here we are at Kerry park. 

Then we headed downtown to Pikes Market. 
Going for a golden piggy ride!

Big Foot!!

Oh my word! This is the "gum wall" at the market. It is like in this weird little alley out back. We of course added our gum to the wall. 

Sisters (in law)!

Getting our veggie on, lol!

Texas donuts!

Hilarious bathroom sign!!

We had to head back to my house so the girls could hit the road to head home and hit a MEGA hail/rain/wind storm! You know its bad weather when everyone on the freeway is driving 30, not just me!

Aquatic and land tour vehicle. 

Water raging down the streets while the wind was trying to blow it back up!

Just the four of us celebrated my actual birthday on the 17th by going out to dinner at Red Robin for my free birthday burger!

Us girls eating our burgers!

Xander was too busy eating to do much else!

The boys!

Then Matt took me to H&M to use our two $6 Wrapp App free gift cards. Woo hoo!! I got 3 shirts for less than $4!

I've been sick a bit lately so I totally spaced on making myself a birthday pie (I have apricot pie every year since I was 10!). Praise Jesus for moms! Mom sent me this box of cookies and 30 candles in the mail. 

So we had birthday cookies and Gabriella and Matt sang to me!

I ended up getting horribly sick all night Friday and spent most of Saturday on the couch (more on that later). But overall turning 30 was pretty great. I feel so incredibly blessed by my hubby planning for, working out the details and paying for everything the weekend the girls came up. And I am SO blessed to have friends that are like family and family that are like friends who drove 16 hours to spend 24 with me!