Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My great hand soap Adventure!

So, I wanted to try making my own hand soap for several reasons...it is supposed to be cheaper and I am becoming increasingly aware of what chemicals are in so many of our "cleaning" products. I found a "recipe" that I liked (thanks Pinterest), at this site...Making Liquid Soap. Then I had to find the ingredients...I bought some lovely lavender bar soap at Trader Joe's (they have several "flavors" to choose from, some I am excited to try some different ones eventually...and they even have non - scented soap, a bit cheaper, which I may try after I get some essential oils to add.) I had a bit of trouble finding the glycerin, but I did eventually find it at Walmart and Hobby Lobby...even though when I called both places they told me they didn't have it. I hear you can also buy it online, but I was in a hurry to do this project this weekend when I was off from work.

Here is the process as I went...

Grating the soap...it smelled WONDERFUL!

Melting all the "ingredients" together.

Mostly melted...

Cooling off...

Cooled and ready to use.

I used the funnel to pour it into my soap dispenser. After filling the dispenser I still had about 3 quarts of it left. I only used about half of the bar of soap, grated...I grated the whole thing and have the rest stored in a baggie for another batch. You only use a small amount of glycerin, so all in all I am guessing I made 3+ quarts of lavender scented, non-toxic hand soap for less than $2.00. Besides, it smells so good! :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A busy but productive weekend

Well, it has been a busy weekend so far, but a good one. Yesterday our glider arrived for the nursery and DH put that together…it feels wonderful! I already love sitting in it, and suspect that it is easier to rock both babies at the same time right now than it will be in a few months. :-D The crib mattress and wool puddle pad arrived earlier in the week and we were able to get that all arranged in the crib.  That part is almost ready for the babies.

Today I got to spend some “girl” time with a couple of friends. EF and I went to a consignment sale and I was able to grab a few baby clothes at half off. Then KM and I went to a Blessingway meeting downtown and after that another consignment sale. I guess this is the season for consignment sales.

I stopped at Hobby Lobby and Walmart on the way home…I needed just a few more ingredients for some of my latest “crunchy” projects. I already made laundry soap, which we are greatly enjoying. In addition to being cheaper than commercially prepared detergents, it doesn’t have the harsh chemicals, so will be safe on cloth diapers. Today I was looking for the last few ingredients I needed to make liquid hand soap/body wash and dishwasher detergent. The hand soap has been made and is currently cooling…I haven’t made the dishwasher detergent yet, as I felt like I needed to rest with my feet up a few minutes.

Of course, sitting down on the couch only created a need for two cockapoos to join me, so they are currently snoring away, crowding me off the loveseat. :-D I guess I should spend cuddle time with them, since they will have to make room for two little humans in a few months.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

From my Valentine

A Frugal Valentine’s Day

We have been trying to stick with our budget for well over a year…yet it seems like since the pregnancy it has been harder and harder for me to stay focused on that, especially when it comes to food. Additionally all of our “extra” money is being used/saved for baby stuff, so I knew we would not really have money for a “special” Valentine’s date, if it needed money. Instead I tried to come up with something special for my hubby that didn’t need any money.

I made his card out of paper that I already had in the house. I “decorated” the house with heart shaped sticky notes (that I already had) that had snippets of things I loved about him. When he came home from work in the morning I made “Eggs in a Basket” using a heart shaped cookie cutter to make the “basket”. For supper I made homemade chicken enchiladas…including making the flour tortillas and the enchilada sauce from scratch…because I hadn’t planned that far ahead when grocery shopping the previous week and I was out of money in our food budget. The food was great and I was “proud” of myself for finding a way to make his special meal without going over budget!

Here are the recipes that I used for supper.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
1 lb chicken breast (cook and cut)
8 oz cream cheese
1 (4.5 oz) green chiles (chopped)
12 soft flour tortillas
19 oz enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven 400* Add cream cheese and chiles to cook chicken. Stir over medium heat until blended. Spoon filling into tortillas. roll up and place seam down in lightly greased 9x13 pan. Pour enchilada sauce over top; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

*I like to put some cheese inside tortillas as well

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Studies show a heightened need for risk/benefit analysis of terbutaline to treat pre-term labor.

Terbutaline, a beta 2-adrenergic agonist bronchodilator has been used off label to treat preterm labor since 1976. In the past 35 years there has been increasing evidence that obstetrical use of terbulaline is not without risks of serious side effects. As early as 1997 the FDA published concerns of long-term use and out of hospital use of terbutaline due to cardiovascular complications. As of 2009 there have been at least 12 documented cases of severe detrimental cardiovascular side effects related to the obstetrical use of terbutaline since the FDA’s initially warning. In 2004, a study from Duke University found that the obstetrical use of terbutaline increased the likelihood and degree of damage from frequently present environmental chemicals to an exposed child’s neurologic system later in life. Then in 2009 a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found a correlation between treatment of women with preterm labor with beta 2-adrenergic agonists and increased risk of autism in their children. It is believed that during the second and third trimester these medications can “permanently alter the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic tone in the individual.” In Februrary of this year (2011) the U.S. Department of Health issued a press release regarding the FDA’s decision to give terbutaline a Boxed Warning and Contraindication. According to the U.S. Department of Health there is not even enough evidence “that the use of terbulatine to prevent preterm labor improves infant outcomes.” According to the FDA the risks, of using terbutaline, to the patient(s) should be weighed against any benefits and its use is actually discouraged.

Mechcatie, Elizabeth. (2011). FDA warns about CV risks of obstetric terbutaline use. Family Practice News 41.5 (44). doi: A254482862

NewsRx Health & Science. (2009). Treatments for asthma and pre-term labor may increase risk of autism in developing fetus. NewsRx Health & Science. (202). doi:A214064315

Pre-term labor drug sensitizes brain to pesticide injury. (2004). Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA (45). doi: A115414610

USA: FDA warns against certain uses of asthma drug terbutaline for preterm labor. (2011). Right Vision News. doi: A249500309

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yogurt and Blessings!

So, I had two adventures recently that I thought I would share about.

The first is that I tried my hand at making yogurt…and was it delicious! I had heard of using a yogurt maker or of using the pilot light in your gas oven neither of which I had…so I “googled” making yogurt and found a way to make yogurt using a heating pad…yup, a HEATING PAD! Now isn’t that creative! It actually is very easy and I will post the link just in case any of you all want to try it. The first batch was a little runnier than I prefer, but it was very usable, especially mixed with granola and fresh fruit in the mornings. I think I will let the next batch sit longer than the 7 hours she recommends starting with, so that it is a little thicker. All in all it was a super EASY recipe to use and I look forward to making some more in a few days!
Heating the milk for yogurt.
The second adventure I was on was yard-saling…now, I know a lot of people get great deals at yard sales etc. but due to my crazy work and school schedule and the fact that we keep a pretty tight budget which does not include a yard sale “category” I have not really been able to go to yard sales in years. Well, I had saved $20 of my rebate money and noticed signs for some subdivision wide yard sales and decided to go on my Saturday off. I prayed for God to help us find some great bargains and  early, I mean EARLY, Saturday morning my SIL/BIL and a friend of mine from work headed off in the occasional rain sprinkles to try our hand at bargain hunting!

Now I have to mention, I had told myself 2 rules before I left only buy things I need now (because I had seen that a lot of the yard sales had baby items and we are NOT expecting!) and I would not spend more than $2/item. I figured that I only had $20 and I needed to see how far I could make that go!

Well, there certainly were a LOT of baby items out there and I hope that someone was able to get some GREAT deals! I managed to hang tough through the first few stops but then we came upon a yard sale that had a Boppy for $3…well after much thought and internal debate I decided that if she would take $2 for it, I would buy it…because, those things are $30 retail! So, I walked away with my $30 Boppy and it’s $10 cover for $2! Several yard sales later I was still going strong…not spending any more of my precious $20. Yeah for me! Then my SIL was looking through some kids stuff (for a friend) at another yard sale and I saw this beautiful gender-neutral bassinet. It looked like it was in good shape. (Now, if/when the Lord blesses us with children, I have wanted a bassinet, but I don’t usually care for the excessively “frilly” kind.) Well, I walked away because I knew that I did not NEED a bassinet. The lady at the house yelled across the yard, “the bassinet is only $5”, I smiled and said thanks and walked away, I did not NEED a bassinet! Well, after looking through more stuff we started to walk on to the next sale and I was mentioning to my SIL what a good deal the bassinet was and she said “well you need to get it!” Ha, I guess I needed that nudge…so I asked the lady if she would take $3 for the bassinet. She said YES. Then she explained that it was brand new and had never been slept in because her children wouldn’t sleep in it. Then at the same yard sale I got an Infantino carrier for $1 and a new, still in box wipes warmer for $0.50! Those people were awesome! Ha! There were lots of other yard sales that we got some great deals at, but that place was the super-duper bargain shop in my book!

$3 Bassinet

The last blessing to share is my “monkey pictures”. I have always loved monkeys and hope that some day in future years I can decorate a room with monkeys…well about a year ago I saw 2 absolutely ADORABLE canvas monkey prints at our local T.J. Maxx. They were a pretty good deal at only $8 each, but I didn’t really have the money to spend on that since we didn’t “need” them, so I didn’t get them. I knew in my heart that I would probably never find anything like them again, but I just didn’t have peace about going ahead and buying them. One of the last yard sales we stopped at had “my” exact monkey picture for sale! Yes, these were the same exact two canvases I had seen and wanted over a year ago! I was able to get “my” monkey picture for $0.50 each! Isn’t that a neat blessing?!?! I can’t help but praise God for that “extra” special blessing that He choose to give me! I think it is totally awesome!!!

"My" Monkey canvases
(Oh, I only spent $11 of my budget and got $293.50 worth!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Themes and House Finches

So I haven’t blogged in quite a while, but I am hoping that I can start back…I will preface (well actually it is more like a postscript at this point) this by saying, I still work full time, go to school and have a family to take care of…so I might not be extremely consistent in my blogging…but I will try to post things every now and then.

Some blogs have a theme and I have wondered if/what mine should be…of course since it is written by me, there will be personal things in here on occasion…but I have become increasingly concerned about several issues regarding women’s health and the lack of information available to women. Therefore, I will probably use this blog to address some of those issues at times. Additionally I enjoy discovering the “old” and “natural” way to do things and venturing out on those trails at times. So, having said all that…this will be a hodgepodge forum and you are welcome to join me on my journey.

At the moment my DH is on the phone with the internet company so I am sitting her typing this in a Word doc for importing later. I can see the momma House Finch sitting on her nest, occasionally standing to rearrange her eggs. Do you know much about House Finches? I did not until a nice couple decided to “rent” our back porch from us. Apparently House Finches are keen on porches or other protected areas for their nests. Both parents will carry building materials to the nest, but the momma is the one who actually builds the nest. During this time the papa will go through a courtship ritual with the mamma in which he regurgitates food into her mouth. This can continue after the momma lays her eggs and sits on the nest to keep them warm. After about 2 weeks the babies hatch. The first set of hatchlings had 5 babies. For approximately 14 days the momma and papa would go get food and regurgitate it into the babies’ mouths. After the 14 days, the little ones fly away. We happened to be outside working in the yard when one of them left…at first he flew into the back door (which is glass) but eventually he figured out how to fly to the dogwood tree. Now the parents have remodeled the nest for the second batch of hatchlings and the momma is sitting on the nest keeping them warm. Did you know that House Finches hatch 2 sets of kiddos each year?

Well, I am going to end this post here as we need to go to “A” and get my uniform embroidered and I think we will browse a few stores while there.