Natural Dishwasher Detergent


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who knewSo I ran out of dishwasher soap two weeks ago, and decided to experiment.  I have never been happy with the store-bought detergent, because it smells so strong, and who knows what is in it.  (Did you know that cancer patients are often advised not to use dishwasher detergent, because of all the harmful chemicals it contains.  Makes you think doesn’t it..)  Since we have an older model dishwasher, it doesn’t seem to get as hot as the newer ones do, so I would always find soap residue on my dishes.  This obviously doesn’t sit well with me. Also, when my dishwasher is on, and the steam comes through the vents, the smell of the soap is so strong that I can’t even stand near it.  So I did a little googling to see if I could find and make a home-made natural solution.  A came across the idea of using baking soda, and decided to give it a try.  So I filled the soap slot with baking soda and put on a load of dishes.  It worked pretty decent, however, I did find some baking soda residue, and water spots. After a bit more research I decided to try adding about a dime size amount of liquid Dawn dish soap to the baking soda, and added vinegar to the rinse cycle.  It worked like a charm!  The baking soda provides grit to clean the dishes, the Dawn some bubble action, and the vinegar helps eliminate those water spots.  I have been using this method for about 2 weeks now and my dishes and dishwasher have never been this clean before.  (Once i put in a little too much baking soda I think, and I did find residue on top of the cups… However I don’t feel so bad about it, because as least I know what it is, and that it is safe.)

So I’m really loving this method…  however I do wonder if its good for the dishwasher and pipes long-term…  So I don’t know if I’ll never have to buy the nasty chemical stuff again… but for now, so-far-so-good.  I’ll keep you posted.

P.S You can buy natural dishwasher detergent online… however this can get pricey. Also there is a dishwasher detergent recipe floating online that uses Borax.. but I’m not a huge fan of it because Borax can be harmful too.



Snow Day


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Snow DayWe got several inches of snow last night. The little one and I went out to explore. However we didn’t last long. It was way too cold out there and windy! His cheeks were as red as apples by the time we came back in.  Some warm milk and a snack helped us defrost. For lunch some warm chicken soup that I made yesterday will be perfect.

Remember being a kid and playing outside in the snow until your mittens were soggy, and you couldn’t feel your toes? Those are some of my best memories as a kid. Do you remember the wonder of waking up to a world transformed over night into a winter wonderland? Then playing in the snow, sledding, making snow angels, building forts, and the never-ending neighborhood snow ball fights. Finally we would come inside with bright red cheeks, wet and exhausted. Our mom would always have something warm for us to eat.

Today, I don’t see as many kids playing outside.. Maybe its just our neighborhood.. I just hope my kids will be able to experience the wonder and delight of a snowy day. Then come home so I could feed them something warm and comforting, while they tell me about their adventures… I feel like it’s a necessary part of childhood.  ..or am I just sentimental?



Entering a New Year


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2014A new year has come, and I find myself wondering what it will bring.  Though all it really represents is another day on the calendar, I see it as a chance for a fresh start. It gives me incentive to change some things in my life, and embrace other things.

I’m in the mood for purging…  This year I really want to look at my priorities, and find a way to focus my time on what really matters to me.  Modern life stretches our attention in all sorts of directions, yet I want to find a way to put my energy towards the most important, particularly my family and my faith.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what is means to have a serving spirit. What does it mean to serve my husband and my family? Am I taking this role begrudgingly? I have also been considering the ways I may have touched other people, when we crossed paths in this fast-paced world.  Have I left an imprint on anyone’s soul? …or do I simply ignore the human connection, selfishly focused on only my path and problems.

I guess if I was to have one wish for 2014, it would be to learn to serve others humbly and joyfully. truly see the people around me, and hopefully have something to offer them.

Happy New Year everyone.  May it be filled with lots of love and joy. May we find a way to serve each other, beyond what is merely expected in today’s age.




Shh.. its nap time


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Anyone who has a small child knows how important nap time is. I’m not talking about how it magically eliminates crankiness in my kid, or any other health benefit here. I’m talking about the benefit for my sanity.  Thankfully my little darling loves his nap time, and I’ve still managed to hold on to two per day.

In the beginning it was “nap when baby naps.” However, it did not take me long to figure out the difference in productivity levels when baby sleeps versus when he is awake.  During these 2-3 hours of my babies rejuvenation, I’m trying to cram in anything and everything that needs to be done around the house.  I literally plan my day around these precious nap times.  However here is the kicker…  I have to be extremely quiet when doing these things, or I risk losing this time of precious productivity.  So often I find myself debating… do I vacuum, ..go into his room to put away laundry, or keep walking up the darn creaky steps that never fail to wake him up, and lose these precious moments of peace?  (I’ve even contemplated whether I should flush the toilet and risk waking him.)  Then there is the cat, who always seems to pick nap time as his time to howl his disillusionment with his nine lives. (.. no matter how much I shush him, or give him the evil eye.)  Then there is the neighbor who always seems to start up his ridiculously loud lawn mower…  or my favorite… the phone ringing… I can not tell you how many times I have frantically searched for my phone on my hands in knees, ready to fling it out the window. (…and people always wonder why I never pick up.. its because I’ve learned to keep it on silent!!)

Did I just hear a cry? Darn it.. my keyboard clanking must be too loud… or was it the cat???

Until next time,



A New Approach


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I have decided to try a new approach to this blog.  I have not really had the time or the inspiration to post lately. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’ve been trying too hard to be “pretty.” …and I find that I don’t always feel “pretty”… or “inspiring”..for a lack of a better word.  Writing has always been an outlet for me. I have stacks of journals at home from about the age of 8 as a testament to this. However, somehow this blog has become a bit of a burden, and I think it is because I am trying too hard to present  something that is complete, edited, and beautiful.  Yet in all honesty I don’t always feel complete or beautiful, and I particularly don’t always want to feel edited.  I guess I want the freedom to ramble, rant, and rave.. and not feel the need to add a pretty photograph.    So I have decided to try a more journal style for a month or two and see how I feel about it.

Don’t get me wrong I will still try to post the usual “pretty” and “inspiring”  things.. (I have a few projects I have been meaning to show you.) But, I will also give myself the freedom to simply be honest, and down-right gritty if I feel like it.  I’m hoping this will ignite my spark for blogging once again, and who knows, maybe I’ll hate it, feel too exposed, and go back to being “pretty.”  Yet for now, those of you who still may read this little blog, please humor me, or feel free to skip the “not-so-pretty.”

Affectionately Yours,


Note –> After this post, I kept singing “I Feel Pretty, Oh so Pretty, and Witty and Bright…” in my head for like 2 hours…   Guess where that’s from??  At first I wanted to blame Mary Poppins, but apparently that song is from West Side Story. Huh!? Who knew??  

A Garden Tea Party Bridal Shower


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Last Saturday I hosted a bridal shower for my sister, whose wedding is less than a month away! DSC_0426-2

I really wanted to make her bridal shower special, because she is truly my best friend and I am very excited for her!DSC_0471 Her wedding will be garden inspired, thus her bridesmaids and I decided that a garden tea party would be perfect.

DSC_0429 My mom graciously allowed us to use her yard as the backdrop for our tea party, which turned out perfect because it was a gorgeous day and everything was in full bloom. My mom puts a lot of love in her flowers and it shows!DSC_0652DSC_0521I kept the color pallet focused on various shades of pink, but also added some pops of aqua for a fun shabby chic feel.  DSC_0427-2
DSC_0428Each tea cup contained a loose leaf tea infuser; a gift for our guests. The coasters were made by putting craft paper over tile and then glazing them with Modge Podge.DSC_0444The gorgeous flower arrangements were done by our friend Luda, she also happens to be one of the bridesmaids. DSC_0445DSC_0425-2DSC_0438-2The Bride-to-be and her bridesmaids…
DSC_0453Our tea-table had a variety of tea to try, brought over from Ukraine and Germany by Dina, one of our beautiful bridesmaids. The two most favored flavors were Strawberry Tingle, and Green Tea with Ginger.DSC_0434DSC_0538DSC_0539DSC_0593The food: Mini club sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, tomato basil shrimp, salad skewers, pear gorgonzola sandwiches, stuffed eggs, mushroom cups, and my mom’s famous chicken with onions

(3) May-JuneFor Dessert… Fresh Strawberries and grapes, meringue cookies,  pear tarts,  biscotti, mini carrot cake cupcakes, and chocolate ricotta cake.
DSC_0544I ordered the ricotta cake from our local Italian bakery, however I asked them to leave it blank. I had the idea of decorating with fresh flowers and a fancy tea-cup. Luda our flower extraordinaire helped me execute it, and I think it came out absolutely lovely!DSC_0545DSC_0548DSC_0567After food and some games it was time for gifts!DSC_0534
DSC_0629DSC_0630(3) May-June1

A very happy Bride! The party was a success!DSC_0655

Though we are now both going to be married, mom’s house will always still feel like home, and we three ladies stick together! (Even while wearing hats! lol)
DSC_0697-2Until next time,


First Birthday Party!!


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It was my sweet baby boys first Birthday last week, and we had a big party to celebrate the momentous occasion. Birthday Party 20It was a Noah’s Ark themed party…

Birthday Party 5I tried to keep it child-like and whimsical…

Birthday Party 4I kept my color palette light; focusing on light blues, aqua and white.Birthday Party 10

Birthday Party 9… I made an animal banner….

Birthday Party 11

Birthday Party 12

…and his very own special party hat!Birthday Party 19

Dessert Table..`Yummy cupcakes!

Birthday Party 2Chocolate strawberry whipped cream cake!
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Birthday Party 13Decoy Cupcake ;)

Birthday Party 27Birthday Party 6Noah’s Ark filled with lots of animals, a gift that arrived early from Grandma and Grandpa.

Birthday Party 26Birthday Party 3Some cotton candy Rain Clouds…
Birthday Party 17…and Marshmallow Rainbows.

Birthday Party 16A new ride!
Birthday Part 36Time for cake.

Birthday Party 18Surprise! Your own personal sized Noah’s Ark Cake!

Birthday Party 24Time to blow out the candle!

Birthday Party 25What should I wish for mommy??

Birthday Party 28Mmm this is good cake…

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…really good cake!

Birthday Party 30This is awesome stuff Mommy! Why didn’t you give me this before??Birthday Party 31Quick! Give me my party hat!

Birthday Party 32Is it on??

Birthday Party 33More cake!

Birthday Party 34Daddy, where’s my milk??Birthday Party 40Oh Why did I eat so much cake??

Birthday Party 36Mommy, I think I’m done now…

Birthday Party 35———————————————–


Well, I hope you all had fun seeing  a bit of our special day. It was a blessed day, with good food, family, friends, lots of presents and well wishes.  William loved every minute of it, and after washing all the icing off of him, he went to bed almost instantly, tired out by all the excitement. Thank you to everyone that came, and a special thanks to Tanya, my sister-in-law for taking all the pictures! They are priceless!

Until next time,


Happy Birthday to My Little Darling



Today is my sweet babies birthday!  I cannot believe he is already one. Where has all the time went?  He is growing so fast, and is the cutest thing, trying to explore the world around him. I can honestly say he is my greatest blessing.  There is nothing like his silly smile, adorable giggles and sweet baby smell.  Thank you Lord for letting me be his mommy.

We are having a big birthday party for him tomorrow, so I’ve been a busy bee preparing for the last two weeks.  I will try to take plenty of pictures to post.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great day.



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