Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lullabye...sort of

Tonight, Tobin is having a difficult time falling asleep. I just went into the boys' room to make sure he was okay and I caught Noah gently singing to his baby brother:

"Chicken pizza. You are a chicken pizza. Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, pizza pizza."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strange...

It's 10:15 am and both my children are still sleeping.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Protocol 2008

Have you ever watched a Jane Austen movie and just wished you could go to a ball and dance like the heroines of the story? Well, Geary and I got to do that Saturday night!

Veritas School has a yearly ball called Protocol. Students spend several weeks learning table manners, how to give toasts, proper introductions and things like that. They also get a few dancing lessons and then they get to celebrate at a big fancy party. Geary and I were invited this year and I'm excited for the next time we get to go. It was super fun and so much better than any prom story I've ever heard or experienced.

Protocol was held at a beautiful country club in Wilsonville. The boys all wore suits and looked very sharp. The girls were wearing ball gowns (me too!) and they looked stunning. No one was allowed to bring a date which seemed to take a ton of pressure off the students. They were all there to have a good time with their friends and teachers.

Dinner was served at tables with assigned seating and two students at each table were given the role of host and hostess. Our host was the guy on my left and the hostess was the girl in the red dress and they were excellent. They were responsible for introducing everyone at the table and for keeping the conversation going. I was very impressed with these teenagers. Since I didn't go to any of the Protocol lessons I paid very close attention to what the students were doing with their silverware and napkins. Hopefully I didn't commit any major etitquette mistakes.

During dinner each senior got toasted by a friend or sibling. Each student did a great job speaking clearly and for just the right amount of time. Here's our host giving a remarkable toast. We noticed that we had gotten into a kind of glass clinking pattern and by the end of dinner our table had gotten it down to a science. I believe our record was 5.4 seconds from the "Here's to..." to the sip.






After dinner the dancing starting and it was so fun! I loved that we were dancing real dances with real names instead of the lame "moves" that happened at my high school prom. The picture to the right is of "The Grand March."


I loved seeing boys and girls switching partners after each dance instead of the boys on one side of the room and girls on the other and a few couples draped all over each other. To the left is one of Geary's students dancing a waltz with her dad--so sweet!



I loved seeing freshmen and seniors having a great time laughing together. I loved the careful attention to detail, the polite manners, the respect and courtesy, everything! It was a lovely, lovely evening and I am so glad we get to be part of this community!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Language Barrier

The neighbors to the left of us only speak spanish. They have a 10 year old daughter who speaks english and she is usually our translator for the small neighborly conversations we try to have. One of the first conversations I had with her went like this:

"So what's your name?"

"Geezella."

"Gee-zella?"

"Geez Ee Ella.'

"Geezie Ella?"

"Geese Ee Ella"

"Geese Ee Ella?"

"Geesyella."

"How do you spell it?"

"K-I-T-S-I-E-L-L-A."

"Oooooh! Keet see ella!"

"Yeah."

Poor girl, getting her name butchered by me. Oh well...she calls Toby, "Toe Me."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Cake

But this one's not edible. It's a Diaper Cake I made for a Baby Shower. I had a lot of fun putting this together. If you ever want me to make something like this for a Baby Shower you're hosting, let me know! I would love to do it again sometime.

Instant Messaging

"Long time no 'see'! What are you guys up to now?"

"Geary got a job in Newberg we moved to Oregon!"

"Do they still let people move to Oregon?"

"Rarely. You have to have proof of 10 years of tree hugging before they let you in."

"That makes sense. I bet you don't even vaccinate your children."

"We do...we just vaccinate them with flaxseed oil."

"Yep, that sounds about right."

"How are things in Texas?"

"Big and bright. Sometimes I'm afraid P's hair will attack me in my sleep."

"I bet you vaccinate your children with barbecue beef..."

"Nah...we just wrap 'em in cowhide and hope the germs stay out."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Phone Update

Wow! You all really came through! I now have working cell phone! Thank you to Sonny & Kristal, Mary, Jayme, and Aunt Lila--you guys are the best!

Clean Green: Laundry Soap Edition

Last December my friend Celina blogged about making her own laundry soap. I decided that I would try it out once my current supply ran out.

I did a lot of research online to find as much information as I could about making my own laundry soap. What I found was that pretty much all the recipes are essentially the same, some people use more or less of each ingredient, and that bath soap does not clean as well as laundry soap. I also learned that this is great for High Efficiency washers because it makes little to no suds (FYI the suds in store bought laundry detergent are for looks only and don't actually have anything to do with cleaning.)

In the end I went with Celina's recipe because a) she's my friend so I believe her when she says something works and b) because I believe her, her recipe is considered tried and true, c) it seemed pretty easy and d)Celina already did the price breakdown which saved me a lot of mental math work. Basically, homemade laundry soap costs less than 1 cent per load. You can't get much better than that!

Here's what you need:
  • Some kind of bucket to mix all your ingredients in. I used a 2 gallon paint bucket.
  • 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (you can also use Zote, Octagon, or Ivory--amounts may vary)
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (everything but the bucket can be found in the laundry aisle of Walmart, Fred Meyer, or WinCo--at least in my neck of the woods)

Baking Soda and Washing Soda are different. See?


Step 1: Cut your bar of Fels Naptha Soap into thirds and finely grate one third of it. If you are awesome you have this grater from Ikea. $4.99 for two! If you don't have this grater you are still awesome. You just need to take a trip to Ikea.

This looks like it would be good on spaghetti but...no. Don't try it.



Save the other two thirds because next time you make a batch of laundry soap it will feel like you are doing it for FREE!


Step 2: Put your grated soap in a pot with 6 cups of water and heat on low until the soap melts. Don't let the soap boil. Once all the soap is completely melted add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens (almost as thick as honey) Remove from heat.


Step 3: Pour 4 cups of hot tap water into your bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir it up. At this point you could add a few drops of essential oil like lavender or tea tree oil if you wanted your soap to have a fragrance. Add nothing and your clothes will simply smell clean. (Don't you love how I give you a picture pouring? As if you have no idea what it means to pour? Yes, I am helpful like that. You're welcome.)


Now add one gallon of hot tap water plus 6 more cups. I used my giant 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup but if I had had an old milk carton I would have just used that. As you can see my 2 gallon bucket barely fit it all. You might want to use a 5 gallon bucket to avoid unnecessary sloshing.

Give it another few minutes of stirring and then let it sit overnight.

Step: 4 In the morning your soap might look runny, or like gel, or separated with big clumps of slime on top and water on the bottom. This is all normal depending on the weather, the type of soap you used, and how much of a tree-hugging hippy you are. At this point you can be done and simply keep your laundry soap in the bucket and just scoop out 1/2 cup per load. Or you can give it another good stir and funnel it into your old well rinsed laundry soap bottle. OR you can be a sucker for cute packaging like me and take it one step further.


Step 5: I wanted to use a Beverage Dispenser with a spigot but my soap came out all clumpy and I knew there was no way it would flow through. So I busted out my immersion blender and smoothed all the clumps layer by layer.

I funneled each layer into my container then went back and blended the next part. Blend, funnel, blend, funnel, blend, funnel...etc.


I found this cute plastic cup at a thrift store and it holds exactly 1/2 cup. Perfect!


An adhesive plastic hook gave me a cute litle laundy soap set-up. Oops, I attached it to the wrong side. Easily fixable. But wait! There's more!


If you have a Downy ball, you can put about 1/2 cup of Distilled White Vinegar in there and it makes a fantastic fabric softener. And no, you're clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar. If you don't have a Downy ball just add your 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. I don't like babysitting my washing machine so I have a Downy ball.



Check me out! Cute! Frugal! Tree-hugging! I'm a REAL Oregonian!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Green Clean

Jeana: It's a pretty good time to be poor.
Geary: What do you mean?
Jeana: You know, like with the whole emphasis on being "green"...reusing, buying things from thrift stores, making your own cleaning products...I feel like I can be proud to be doing that stuff because it's cool. I don't have to feel like I have to shop at Goodwill because we can't afford otherwise.
Geary: You're cute.
_______________________

So today I made my own dishwasher detergent. It was super easy and super cheap. Here's what you need to be cool, frugal and green like me. 2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Baking Soda
4 small packets of lemonade Kool-Aid (the no sugar added kind)

Mix everything together by either dumping into a big bowl and stirring it really well or dumping it into a container with a lid and shaking it up. You can keep it in your lidded container or re-use your old detergent box.

I used this adorable thrifted glass jar because going green doesn't mean losing my sense of style.

Use 2 tablespoons per load. (1 tablespoon in the open cup and 1 in the closed locking cup) Pour some White Vinegar into your rinse aid receptacle and your glasses will come out sparkling! (If your dishes end up covered with a white residue, you probably have hard water and need to experiment with the amount of Borax to use.)

This batch of dishwashing soap cost me about 65 cents to make and it will last for about 100 loads of dishes. It took me less than 5 minutes to make and probably only took that long because I took pictures for you!

Tomorrow we'll make laundry soap!

P.S. Giving credit where credit is due: I found this detergent recipe here. Also, this lady's blog has become one of my favorite reads!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dry Clean Only

I did something stupid. I left my cell phone in the back pocket of my jeans. And then I washed my jeans. And my phone.

I found the phone in pieces in the dryer. I gave a little, muffled, strangled sort of squeak and then showed Geary. It is completely ruined. I feel like such a moron!

When I went to the Verizon store today they informed that one of my only options is to purchase a new phone. So I looked around. The cheapest phone is $150. We have $113 that is supposed to last us until the 20th. So I asked, "Uh...what's my other option?"

They said they could reactivate any other cell phone I might already have as long as it has a digital receiver. "We don't do analog anymore."

So...did anyone get a new phone recently? Do you have an old digital cell phone you would just love to let me have/borrow/buy from you? I promise to only wash it in the delicate cycle...=(

Conga

Yesterday we were having family game time with Cranium Conga. The main part of the game is writing down your secret answer and all the other players have to guess what you wrote. Noah kept cracking us up with this. Every time it was his turn we reminded him to not tell us what he wrote; to just wait until we guessed it correctly. We also told him he could draw a picture of the word if he didn't know how to spell it.

Category--Halloween Things
Noah: Okay, go!
Geary: Candy!
Jeana: Witch!
Geary: Broom!
Jeana: Pumpkin!
Noah: Yes! Pumpkin!
(Jeana opens the secret answer box and sees a picture that is very much not a pumpkin.)
Noah: Oh. It was "ghost." I forgot.

Category--If your mother was an animal what would she be?
Jeana: Hippo!
Geary: Bird!
Noah: It starts with a P!
Jeana: Penguin!
Geary: Panther!
Jeana: Pig!
Noah: Yes!
(Geary opens the secret box to see "PIG" neatly spelled out.)
Geary: There are worse things...
Jeana (chuckling): Yeah, why did you choose pig?
Noah: Because that's what I could spell!

Category--Things Cowboys Use
Noah: Hmm...How do you spell "horse?"

Friday, April 04, 2008

First Birthday Party

Tobin had a joint birthday party with his cousins, Analia (6) and Karissa (3). It was super fun to play outside with the kids at the farm. I made special cakes for each of the birthday kids and then it was gift-o-rama time. Tobin came home with some great new clothes and toys--thank you to all the generous gift givers! Thank you Lila and Eldred for hosting us at your house. And thank you to everyone who celebrated with us. We had a great time!
I made a monkey cake for my little Monkey Baby.


Feels squishy


First taste of cake


Mmm....sugar coma


Karissa's cake was a tutu (or "bawaweena dress" as she calls it)

Analia got a purse cake--she's a total fashionista!