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Showing posts from March, 2010

Garden Construction - Laying Path

No time to write a full post today, but I wanted to share some photos from the weekend's work. Once again, we had one sunny day and two days of rain and mud. Sunday night our camera stopped working so I don't know when I will next have new pictures to share.

Saturday, the digging is done and the raspberry trellis is up:

Starting to get the path in place:

Sunday, putting in the "Snap-Edge" to hold the pavers in place. These come in 8-foot lengths, and you basically nail them to the ground with giant spikes.

The connection to the patio is shown below. Average had to make several cuts to the pavers to get this corner to look this way, but he is still considering adding one more triangle-cut stone. What do you think?
Here we are Sunday afternoon, completely muddy, tired, and sore, but very happy with ourselves!

As always, there is still more to do: filling and planting the cells of the path, getting new soil for the raised beds, repairing our lawn, and tilling for the flo…

Green Cleaning in the Bathroom

Today I did my first whole-room cleaning with only home-made products. I attacked the bathroom, which was dingy and soap-scummed.

For the sink, toilet, and bathtub, I used straight white vinegar rubbed on with a sponge or a brush, followed by a scrubbing with baking soda. The fizzing and foaming when the two combined made it kind of fun! I found I didn't have to scrub any harder than I usually do with my store-bought products, and the porcelain is now sparkling clean! The mirrors and floor were cleaned with vinegar and water. Vinegar doesn't smell the greatest, but the smell disappears as soon as it dries.

The most disgusting area of the bathroom, worse than the toilet, is the tile around our window. This window is the only one that the previous owners didn't replace with a new vinyl one. I think the reason is that they would have had to re-do the tile, but I sure wish they would have changed it! It is a metal window that slides open to the side. The sliding area fills up …

Who Am I?

I haven't yet written a complete "About Me" post yet, and I figured it's about time. I plan to use this for a new page of the blog using the new "Pages" feature of blogger.

Who Am I?
Before I had a baby (daughter's alias: Sweet Pea), before I became a teacher, before I got married (husband's alias: Average), before I spent six months in Spain, before I had one job for more than a few months, I was the kind of person who had an easy time describing herself. I won more local scholarships (in my tiny Oregon town) than anyone else the year that I graduated from high school, partly because I could clearly and distinctly explain who I was and where I was going. I participated in about as many extracurricular activities as a person can, and I was thrilled to go to college. I felt like I had limitless possibilities, and in a way, I did. It doesn't really feel that way anymore. I have been struggling to write this post for weeks, because even though there…

Garden Construction - Digging and More Digging

When we bought our house over a year ago, the backyard consisted of grass, five overgrown fruit trees, two large rotting raised beds, and a corner compost pile. Last fall I hired a garden designer to help us plan for changes to our backyard, and we had our fruit trees professionally pruned. This month we started spending lots of time standing in the yard saying "hmmm... what about," scratching our heads and sighing. It seemed to be such a long process to figure out what to start with, what materials we wanted to use, and how much of the plan we could tackle this year. This past weekend we finally made some physical progress, which is much more satisfying than mental progress, and we have the sore muscles, muddy shoes, and scrapes (in addition to the changes to the yard itself) to prove it. We have deconstructed the old beds and compost pile, built 6 new 4'x8' cedar-board raised beds, and dug out for the path that will go around and between each bed, along the length… Free Weekend

For anyone looking for a nanny, babysitter, pet sitter, senior care provider, or other care-person:'s Free Weekend starts tomorrow. This opportunity runs March 19th through March 21st.
During this weekend, anyone can search for caregivers, post jobs, and get contact information.

Green Cleaning

As part of my effort to lead a more green and healthy lifestyle, with fewer toxic products in my home, I have started learning about green cleaning. With just a few ingredients you can make most of your cleaners, and they generally work as well as the store-bought ones. In addition, your home-made cleaners will almost always be cheaper than the ones you buy ready-made in the store!

The basic ingredients that you will need are vinegar, baking soda, and water. For some cleaning jobs you might also want hydrogen peroxide, grapefruit seed extract, essential oils such as lemon or thyme, or borax. Two great articles/posts on this topic can be found at: Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks and Green America.

I used baking soda to clean my stove top yesterday and it worked great, and I am planning on testing out different variations of mixtures of grapefruit seed extract, vinegar, and essential oils, on the mildew around the window in my shower. Please share any suggestions or tips!

Feeding My One-Year-Old

You may have read about our earlier experiences and struggles with feeding Sweet Pea solids. Over the last month, she has continued to slowly expand her palate, and to eat with more regularity, saving me lots of worry. She has also continued to gain weight and height, and generally seems healthy and happy. Some major breakthroughs on the way to more consistent eating came, first when she learned the sign for "milk" and could let me know when she was hungry, then when she learned the sign for "more" which she usually uses for solid food, and finally, now that she is beginning to, messily, feed herself with utensils. She seems to really prefer to use the spoon herself, and last night ate a bowl of applesauce after Average handed her the spoon, when she had initially refused being spoon-fed by him. All of this goes to support my theory that she prefers to do things on her own. She seems to want to be in control of her own consumption and be able to make choices about…

Playing Outside

Today the weather was nice, so I pruned three bushes in my front yard. Maybe a little late, but they look much better now than they did before - all leggy and with dead branches. The most exciting part of this was that Sweet Pea was able to be out there with me. Last summer I did yard work while caring for her and she would just lay on a blanket or sit in her swing or bouncy chair and be happy. When she started crawling at about 7 months old, and was also still putting everything into her mouth, there was no way I could hang out outside with her without very vigilant constant monitoring. So, for the last six months or so, yard work only got done when both Average and I were home, it wasn't raining, and we felt like it. Which is to say that it pretty much never got done. Well, we're back at it as of today, now that she is walking and doesn't put quite EVERYTHING in her mouth any more.

I forgot to bring my camera out with me today so missed a few very photo-worthy moments of…

Our Favorite Children's Music

Does the thought of children's music put a smile on your face or a look of disdain? Personally, I have always enjoyed children's music, but I know many adults who, if they don't hate it, at least are annoyed by it. When I was a kid, my favorite albums were anything by Raffi, and Wee Sing Silly Songs. I loved singing songs at summer camp, and would sing in the car to pass to the time on trips. However, if you don't like children's music so much, you might want to try a regular adult musical artist who has made a children's album. My current favorites are:
Ziggy Marley's Family Time
Dan Bern's Two Feet Tall

Of course, just because music is marketed to adults doesn't mean that children and babies won't love it too. Lately we have been using music to help Sweet Pea fall asleep at night, and Average made a great mix that helps her to relax and drift off. The majority of these are songs that we have always liked and won't easily tire of, with a fe…

She's a Toddler

Over the last weeks, my baby turned into a toddler. She is walking everywhere and can go from sitting to standing without pulling up on anything, and she turned one year old. I think that makes it official. We will have to start attending "toddler story time" instead of the baby story time at the public library. Even with the frequent bumps and falls, walking has been tremendously fun and exciting for all of us, and we can't wait for the next steps (running, jumping, riding bikes?)

I have mentioned this before, but I just can't quite believe sometimes that the baby that I birthed a year ago is really going to turn into a CHILD, and then a teenager, and then an adult! It blows my mind. That's how life works, so it shouldn't be a surprise, right? Am I the only one who is regularly shocked by the passage of time?

A few photos from the birthday party:
With the giraffe that Grandma made.

The carrot cake: I made it, Average decorated.

In her pretty new tutu.