Best Shot Monday – 11/19/07

NaBloPoMo – Day 19

There’s nothing like the expected arrival of house guests (my parents will arrive later today) to get my butt in gear with both a) cleaning my house and b) decorating my house. This weekend was a blur of shopping (new rugs and picture frames), printing photos, hanging pictures and cleaning. We’ve lived in this house for 7 years and there were still a number of empty walls (mostly in the basement, where our guest bedroom and bathroom are, but still). Having a passion for photography and having taken more pictures than I can possibly count, I have no excuse for not having some printed, framed and hung, so I did just that. I now have five family pictures hanging in the guest bedroom, some Anne Geddes pictures (that I cut out of a book – got the tip on Oprah no less) hanging in the guest bathroom, pictures hanging in the basementbathroom pictures hallway, nature pictures (that I took) hanging in our main floor bathroom (see pic to the right – btw, my color seems to be totally off, that’s what I get for using auto white balance), a collage of family pictures on our downstairs landing, and soon to be more nature pictures hanging in our upstairs office – including my sunset picture that I finally (2 years later) had printed. I’m quite pleased with all that I accomplished. It certainly was a long time coming.

In addition to all of the picture hanging going on this weekend, I also finally made a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto Ravioli (from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook). It’s one I’d been wanting to make for a while now. I froze the raviolis to have for dinner this week while my parents are here, but I did take a few (OK, a lot of) tastes of the filling while assembling the raviolis and it was damn tasty. I can’t wait to eat them. :)

So here’s my non-standard best shot for the week – the ravioli I slaved away on for the afternoon. (It’s my first time making my own ravioli, so I’m a little proud of them. Can ya tell? ;) Though I do have to add, thank God for store-bought wonton wrappers. I can’t imagine making all of the dough myself!)

Pumpkin seed pesto ravioli

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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P.S. Happy 35th anniversary to my parents (yesterday)! :)

Lily’s Garden Herbals natural cleaners – review and giveaway

EDITED TO ADD: This giveaway has been concluded.

NaBloPoMo – Day 9

In my opinion, there are four things necessary to make a good cleaning product.

  1. It has to be non-toxic.
  2. It has to have a pleasant smell.
  3. It has to be affordable.
  4. It has to get the job done.

Lily’s Garden Herbals natural cleaning products accomplish all of these things.

After our recent run-in with the stomach flu, I needed to do some serious bathroom cleaning. I put Lily’s Garden Herbals All Purpose Clean (All Purpose Cleaner – 32 oz. – $6.50) to the test. The bathroom was sparkling in no time and I didn’t have to worry about keeping the kids at bay while I worked for fear of toxic smells overpowering the house. Made with essential oils and distilled water, the All Purpose Clean is effective and has a pleasant, even refreshing, smell.

I also tried out Lily’s Garden Herbals Glass Clean (Non-Toxic Glass Cleaner – 32 oz. – $5) on our sliding glass door. With two dogs and two little kids in and out of the house all day long, this door needs frequent cleaning. I have to admit it outperformed my simple homemade vinegar and water solution, and smelled better too. And, of course with it being non-toxic, I don’t have to worry if Julian decides to lick the glass. Not that he’s ever done that. ;)

Lily’s Garden Herbals also offers a natural dish cleaner, a toilet bowl cleaner and a wood cleaner, as well as a linen spritzer and antiseptic room deodorizer (which also came in handy after the stomach flu went through our house).

Lily’s Garden Herbals were formulated by Kim Falcone, a mother and herbalist with a deep appreciation for the natural world. All of Lily’s Garden Herbals natural household products are homemade, non-toxic, contain NO chemical ingredients or synthetic preservatives, are biodegradable and never tested on animals.

A percentage of profits from Lily’s Garden Herbals sales are donated to local and global charities in areas of environmental protection, human rights and education.

If you are skeptical about making the switch from commercial chemical cleaning products to natural ones, consider this:

  • There are over 80,000 chemicals in commercial use today. Less than one percent
    have ever been tested for safety, especially for neurotoxic effects.
  • Companies are not required to disclose their complete ingredients in household,
    personal care and cleaning products or to test for safety.
  • Over 200 human health conditions have now been linked to environmental toxins. These include not only cancer but disorders such as autism, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, immune/endocrine system disorders, asthma, and migraines.
  • Children are the most vulnerable to toxins due to their size, weight, and also risk of exposure during critical stages of development that could have life-long consequences.
  • More facts about toxic chemicals in everyday products can be found on this fact sheet provided on Lily’s Garden Herbals’ web site.

All Purpose CleanWin it!
If you would like to win a 32 oz. bottle of Lily’s Garden Herbals All Purpose Clean, please leave me a comment stating what kind of cleaning products you currently use and why you would like to try Lily’s Garden Herbals AND link to this review/giveaway on your blog. (Non-bloggers are eligible as well, but you must tell a friend about the giveaway). Deadline to enter is Nov. 19. The winner will be selected using and announced on Nov. 20.

Random stuff

Ava was trying to tell me about something the other day in the car. I couldn’t figure out what one of the words was that she was saying, so I kept guessing – incorrectly. After repeating herself about 8 times and me incorrectly guessing 8 times she said exasperated, “Mom, you are driving me crazy.”
Ha! Just you wait sweet girl. ;)
Julian’s first tooth came through on Tuesday (6/12/07). I never even knew he was teething. Guess that’s a good thing unless it means I was too busy to notice. Seriously though, he’s been a nonstop drooling machine for months (his nickname around here is “droolian”) and didn’t give any other clues. He’s such a happy baby. This, of course, means his days of gnawing on daddy’s nose and mommy’s chin are numbered. ————————————————————————————————–
I was recently contacted by author Elizabeth Pantley to review her newest book – “The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears” – on my blog. The (personalized and autographed *grin*) book arrived in the mail yesterday and I eagerly dove in. It looks like it will be a good read and will definitely have practical application. :) More to come at a later date.
We had our upstairs shower redone last week. No more hole in the wall! Woohoo! Maybe now I won’t be embarrassed to take pictures of my kids in the bathtub. Although we have to add some texture to parts of the walls and repaint a little bit, it looks quite nice and is a huge improvement.

Busy as a bee

I’ve been busy as a bee these past few days, as well as fighting a cold or allergies (I can’t determine which so I’m not currently pumping for the milk bank), and thus not spending much time on the computer.

This weekend we saw a few houses and fell in love with a different one. ;) It’s actually in MUCH better shape than our last home love affair, and cheaper. However, we’re not going to act on anything until our house is at least on the market. That’s our big priority now.

We also attended a birthday party, and I started cleaning out our basement. I took a bunch of cardboard to the recycling center and got some of our boxes out of storage in hopes of boxing up some of our stuff soon.
Today, our upstairs shower was gutted, uncovering a bunch of mold. :( I sprayed it with bleach to kill it and it’s airing out for the night. The tilers will return tomorrow to put up the drywall and tile and we’ll have a nice new (hole-less) shower again. Woohoo!

Also today I called around for prices on storage units and am trying to find a new dentist that doesn’t use amalgam fillings. (More on that later.) And I used “Liquid Gold” on some of our woodwork and was AMAZED at how well it cleans it up. That stuff is awesome.

Tomorrow is Ava’s first day of “preschool” at a local farm, though it’s actually more like a summer enrichment program. In any event, it’s her first venture into any sort of organized child care. We bought her a lunch box this weekend and she’s quite excited to go. It will be hard to leave my girl to someone else’s care tomorrow, but I know it will be good for both of us. I’m excited for her and know she’s going to have a great time. I only wish I could spend one morning a week hanging out on a farm as well. ;)

I’m off to go pack her lunch now and get myself to bed.  Cheers.

Takin’ it easy

We’ve decided to take it easy and not rush into anything with *the* house. We’ve been talking a lot about it – our likes (the layout, the neighborhood, the yard, the unfinished basement for a possible future photography studio for me), our dislikes (it needs new windows and other updates), and what we’d need to do before we could even move in (put in a dog run or fence).

Since finding out it was on the market last summer and didn’t sell, I don’t feel like we have to rush this. If this is the house for us, it will work out. However, the more I think about it, I’m not sure it is *the* house.

In the meantime, we’ve met with a Realtor who walked through our house and told us some things we need to have fixed or start working on ourselves to prepare it for going on the market. Also, he told us we probably won’t get as much for our house as we would like, since it’s a buyer’s market right now and there are something like 16 other houses in our neighborhood already for sale. Blah. I am excited to get the ball rolling though and to know exactly what we need to fix up so that we can put it up for sale.

June is going to be a super busy, crazy month. Not only are we going to be doing home repairs, boxing up all of our clutter and moving it to a storage unit, we’re also having Ava’s 3rd birthday party and my parents will be staying with us for a week. Thankfully, I know they will be a big help in all of this. It’s just going to be a matter of finding the time to get everything done. Staying up ’til midnight painting, patching nail holes in the walls, putting Liquid Gold on our wood work, and packing up boxes is not my idea of a good time, but it all has to be done.

We’re going to revisit “*the* house” this weekend with our Realtor to look at it with a more critical eye. We’ve also found a couple other homes we want to take a look at, and he’s suggested looking at a few homes in our neighborhood that are already on the market, so we know what the “competition” looks like.

And so we are moving onward and upward. :)

*the* house

What do you do if you find a house that you pretty much fall in love with and want to buy, but you haven’t put your’s on the market yet?

We found one such house yesterday and toured it today and I love it. It was built in the 70s and needs a lot of updating, but it’s on a huge (for this area) lot at just shy of half an acre. It has tons of fruit trees and berry bushes, and loads of perennial flowers. It’s in a nice neighborhood. It’s being sold by the original owner and it’s clean and been well taken care of. I’m sure it won’t last long at all at the price it’s at.

I want this house. I can picture the kids growing up there and playing in the back yard. I admit I was thinking about what room we could set up a birthing pool in if we have another baby in a few years. I even confessed to Jody that I can picture the kids coming home with their own children to celebrate Christmas with us there in 30 years. He told me I’m getting too attached. Am I?

Jody left a voicemail with a Realtor today about getting our house on the market. Even if that happens quickly though, I have my doubts about the likelihood of us getting this house. I am certain it is going to be snatched up fast. If there was any way we could put in an offer and pay for two mortgages, I would go for it, but there’s just no way. And realistically speaking, we need the money we’ll make off of this house to apply towards that one since it costs more than we’d get for ours.

I want to be positive and say “that house is mine” (we’ve already been talking about it as “our house” LOL), but I’m also trying to prepare myself for the chance that it won’t happen.

Anybody have any tips for me/us on what we can do to get our house to sell FAST, FAST, FAST?