Friday, July 31, 2009

Avocavo Oil, Olive Oil and Lavender Oil

Avocado oil has changed my life too. I use this to moisturize my face and hands. Its a natural sunscreen. Its not alot so I get a healthy amount of sunshine. I don't use sunblock because I haven't found anything that doesn't cause a reaction.

Using this along with the olive oil soap has made me the prettiest I've been since being a mother. The hormonal changes from my two pregnancies left my skin a real mess. I stopped using lotion when I saw the midwives in the hospital using olive oil on the new born babies. My midwife said that I should continue to use it on Jazz, but I could add Lavender essential oil for protection against diaper rash. Its also great against mosquitoes.

Even though the skin on my body was great, I didn't like the olive oil on my face. I was still using the Neutrogena Acne products. Now that my acne is gone, due to the olive oil soap, I don't need a medicated moisturizer. Olive oil takes longer to absorb into the skin than Avocado oil and it doesn't have any SPF. It doesn't smell pretty, but one can only smell it fresh out of the bottle.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bye Bye

Look at all of this that i'm giving away!!! JJ keeps getting into my cleaning closet and these things are not that secure in there. The 5 things on the left have been replaced by white vinegar. The last item is a conditioner for hard wood. Olive oil has replaced it.

White vinegar works soooooooo much better than all of these for a fraction of the cost. No more specialized cleaners for me. I'll keep my dish detergent, but I use it on the floors and counters too.

I can't wait to find a replacement for my dish washer tabs. I found a natural laundry replacement. It's in the mail.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Clean Bathrooms

My hubby had a few meetings in Prague last week. Since the kids were on vacation, we came along. Children and car rides longer than 2 hours means lots of stops. Here in Germany, it is not a problem. Look at this bathroom!!!! The room is fresh and clean. The pull down table has extra diapers, wet wipes, and a roll of paper to protect the baby from the plastic changing pad. Notice the toilet bowl brush next to the toilet. Folks here are responsible for cleaning up after oneself.

In September, we're going to the States to visit folks. We're traveling by car up and down the East Coast and I'm not looking forward to the stops. I pray that we don't catch some US super cootie.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reading list

The following are a list of all the great and very helpful blogs that I'm currently reading.
This site has jammin' recipes. I love her raspberry muffins, caramel popcorn and tomato soup.
This site has chickens!! and lots of interesting ideas about cooking and saving money.
This site has interesting ways to customize my favorite big box store items.
This site has everything you can imagine about everything from news to hobbies from professionals to enthusiasts.
These sites keep me up-to-date on some of my favorite TV shows.

Monday, July 27, 2009


After seeing Marley & Me, movie about a Labrador and his master, my hubby and I have wanted a pet. I didn't grow up with any animals, but he grew up with a cat. It gets cold here and I can't imagine walking a dog in the winter. Cats are moody and we have plenty that visit our yard on a daily basis.

Since accepting my life as a SaHM, I've been reading alot about how best to manage a household. Lots of the blogs I've been reading talk about being self sufficient and living an organic lifestyle. The cheapest way to do that is to grow and raise one's own food. I actually have the space to do this.

Next year, we will plant some fruit trees and berry bushes. We will also grow a variety of herbs and veggies as well. One of the things of a successful garden is compost, a nutrient rich soil additive. Its basically decomposed plant material. Once our yard is done, it will be easy to put the compost system next to our garbage.

Several of the ladies have chickens. The hens are usually raised from chicks. They normally don't get roosters because they are noisey and don't produce eggs. From the accounts I've read hens make good pets. They have distinct personalities and are quite entertaining. I'm really looking into setting up a coop next year. I hope I'm zoned for it.

I gotta do something. My hormones are telling me to get pregnant again. Every baby I see melts my heart. I know better not to get pregnant again anytime soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Heart Vinegar

One of the hardest things about being a SaHM is taking care of a house with children in it. JJ wants to be everywhere I am. Cleaning with typical household cleaners is very dangerous, even to my health. When I was pregnant, I had to open all the windows for at least an hour before I could use the bathroom cleaner. Then I could only do two parts before I was dizzy.

White vinegar makes easy work of toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs. If JJ comes to help, its not a problem. If I need to leave in the middle of cleaning, its not a problem. Vinegar also kills weeds without hurting the environment. Diluted in water, vinegar will make a spotless glass cleaner.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Making Progress

This is the back of the house, a grass area with a swing set. The rain water tank is in the whole and will be covered with the dirt from the front. The sewer cover will also be covered with dirt and grass. The second pic is another view of the back. The last pic is the front yard that will also be grass and fruit trees.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Olive Oil Soap

Being concerned about the Phthatlate controversy, I stopped using baby products. Thankfully, Jazz never ate ready-made baby food. I just would blend table food, I think that's why she loves veggies today. She also didn't take to a pacifier either. She was breastfed until she was 14 months and slept with us until she was 20 months. Then came JJ. Hubby took both children to Prague for the weekend when he was 11 months. He didn't put up too much fuss about missing my milk and bed so we ended both.

The hard thing was finding a replacement for the baby wash and shampoo. Hubby used the shampoo, along with the children, and we all used the wash. I was raised using bar soap. I remember getting in trouble for biting chunks out of the bars. I looked everywhere for real soap, not beauty or cream bars, real soap. I also wanted the soap to be free of perfumes, artificial colors, and animal products. JJ has sensitive skin.

Olive Oil Soap was the answer. The packaging includes a sticker to close a piece of celophane. Because I survived a childhood of soap eating, I felt confident that my kids would be too. Within a week their skin was fantastic. JJ's bumps were gone and Jazz was baby soft again. What's really crazy is that both Hubby and I are better too.

I use it for everything. No more acne, no more dry spots and NO MORE DANDRUFF!!! I liquified a bar and added essential oils...boom shampoo. I just use the bar now that the dandruff is gone.

The only downside, if it is one, is I have to clean the shower more frequently. Soap binds dirt so it can be washed away with water. All the dirt can stick to the shower or tub if one doesn't take a contious step to rinse the tub or shower after use.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Befores - Back Yard

Our yard was essentially one huge raised bed. The previous owners loved to garden and grew lots of potatoes and herbs. She also had lots of flowers and vines. The vines ruined the garage, it was no longer water tight so it had to go. The shed had to go to because it was just icky. We had to remove the raised beds because they were falling apart. The biggest problem with the raised bed was the huge whole in the middle for the sewer. Another eye sore was the rain water capture system.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Clearing the Way 4

The black hole.

At the end of the walkway, a septic tank was discovered. The walkway was covered with grey pavers set in concrete.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Befores - Side Yard

A huge bush is in the middle of the raised bed. The front tree is thin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clearing the Way 3

The raised bed had a retaining wall around the sewage hole. It made it very dangerous when the garden was over grown.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Befores - Front Garden Bed

Front bed in the winter.

This is the front bed jungle in the spring.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Clearing the Way 2

The shed was taken down and all that's left is the concrete floor. The same goes for the moldy garage.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Befores - Back of the House

Before we moved into the house, we bought energy efficient windows. It only cost a few more euros to make this window a door. Without it, the only way to get to the back of the house is to go out the front door or the cellar door.

This is the cellar entrance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate for Upset Stomach

Last week, a stomach virus ran through JJ's daycare class. He had to come home after 2 hrs because of the 3 loose stools he had. I had a whole day of work planned that was now scraped for 2 needy soon as Jazz saw me she had to come home too.

Mr. S wondered why the kids were home so soon and he recommended chocolate. I'm thinking, "Ok, Mr. S. you may know everything about engines and houses and Germany, but I don't want my babies running around like crazy people." Only friends give them candy. I guess he read my face and specified pure cacao, not milk chocolate. I thanked him and went into the house. An hour later, I ran out of diapers.

While at the store, I got more diapers and 85% dark chocolate, just in case. My babies were more than happy to try out this experiment. They each ate two squares. Then we went to watch The Incredibles. Amazingly, the movie ended with JJ still in the diaper he wore to the store!!

I gave JJ another square with breakfast the next morning before school. He stayed the whole day without a problem. Mr. S was at my house by the time I came back home from dropping the kids at school and thanked him again. He explained further that the chocolate should be as pure as you can stand and not to over do it...constipation is the worst.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clearing the Way 1

We got rid of all the overgrown bushes and leveled the raised bed.

All that's left is our Wisteria. I am debating whether I should keep it or not. It's currently in the place of one of the fruit trees. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Plan

So here’s the plan for the yard. Our house is the big grey box. We’re gonna put down brick pavers around the house and where the garage used to be, the upper right corner. We’re gonna put up a carport once we get a new gate. The white stars are where the garden outlets will be. The green squares are grass areas. The one behind the house will have a swing/slide/sandbox set and hide a rain water tank. The pink circles will be fruit trees. The black, yellow and brown squares are the recycling: paper; plastic and metal; bio; and everything else.

This was the plan a few months ago. We wanted to cover the slab for the old garage with grass and border the property with shrubs and bushes. We also wanted to build a garage in the front of the property.

The new plan is better because we will make use of the cellar now as a mud room. Currently our front bench does that. I have to undress the kids and shake out all of the sand from school in front of our neighbors. Now all of the dirt will be trapped downstairs. Also, we don’t have to worry about trying to grow grass over the concrete slab, the garage foundation.
This was the old plan front view. Now we plan to change bars to something prettier and cover the brick in stucco, a much cheaper option than cutting into the wall.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our rainwater tank is here! Originally it shipped some kind of cooking oil from southern Europe. Instead of returning the $500 1,000 liter (264 gallon) capacity tank to be refilled, the owner of the company cleans and recycles them. Thankfully the win/win is us buying it for less than $100.

Now, it will collect the rain from our carport. We'll use that water for our lawn and garden.

Mr.S buried pipes for the electrical cords and water hoses to be installed later.

This will go to the fruit trees in the side yard.

Mr. S will bury the tank here with styrofoam insulation under our grass patch. You can see why we decided to keep the parking in the same place. The concrete slab was too big to remove cost-effectively.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Befores - Dead Tree

This tree was half dead. Unfortunately, the dead side faced the street. It had to go.