Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Playdough 1

Playdough is something I will not buy for my kids. The non natural ingredients are one of the main concerns I have, plus for some reason Andon always wants to put it in his mouth.
I have a list of different dough recipes I have been wanting to try for some time. Well today it was raining and we were stuck inside. I took this opportunity to try out a playdough recipe. It turned out pretty good and it was super easy.
I used the recipe below but I added the food coloring at the end because I wanted to make 4 different colors. It took about 6-7 drops of food coloring and a lot of kneading to get the dough colored. Next time I will try the food coloring mixed with the water.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon oil
Mix together flour and salt. Mix water and oil, and food coloring if desired. Gradually stir the water and oil mix into the flour mix. Knead the playdough as you add the liquid. Add more water if too stiff, more flour if sticky.

Friday, November 7, 2008


One thing I love about Texas is the long growing season. Right now we have everything for salad right in out backyard.

Here are the cucumbers. We even have some peppers still growing. We also have onions and peas in this box.

Here we have different types of lettuce, some carrots, and radish. We also have some broccoli plants just starting.

These boxes have our 4 artichoke plants and our strawberries.
Our other two boxes have eggplant, more carrots, celery, and squash growing. I just love the garden. It is a great learning experience for the kids and it saves me so much money.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greener Toys

I try to buy natural products when possible, although I do sometimes buy the convenient product instead of shopping around for the more eco friendly version. The internet is a great helpful tool in buying eco friendly, and many stores now carry eco friendly items. I do not know many people who could easily change everything in the home to the green alternative, that is why it is important to make the green choice when buying new products.
I would love to have my entire house changed to be the perfect model of green choices. Although this will not be happening, it is still a thought I keep in mind whenever I purchase new things.

One area where I am making a big effort to be green is in the toys I am choosing for the kids. This Christmas I will only be making green choices for under the tree. I will not be buying a lot of plastic junk and I will be getting rid of some of our non-green toys as December approaches. There are a few things that will remain in our house even though they may not be very green. For example Little People world. The kids and I both love playing with the little people so it will stay, but I have decided we will not be adding to our collection.
To help people see what I mean by green toys here is a link to the Wish List I have at Amazon.com. This list contains things I would like for the kids. Most of the items are eco friendly but you will find a couple of items that do not fall into the green category. Hey we can’t all be perfect. I will also be doing a lot of shopping on Etsy I just love the unique handmade things there.

I am currently a big fan of the wood Plan Toys, not just for the toys themselves but for the companies green vision. I would love to have the entire Plan City. I also like Green Toys made from recycled milk jugs. Melissa and Doug and Under the Nile are also two companies I like.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No more canned beans

We eat a lot of beans here, mostly because of our vegetarian diet. Two things concern me about canned beans the sodium level and the chemicals used in the can that leach into the food and consequently into our bodies. Until now I have just used canned beans because I always thought it was hard to make beans. Well I decided to give it a try this weekend. After doing some research on line I thought it would be easiest to use the crock pot. The beans turned out great and I can not wait to try another kind next week.

This week I made black beans since they are what we eat the most of. First I rinsed and sorted the dried beans. I then placed the beans in the crock pot with a lot of water. I set the crock pot on high for one hour and then set it to low for 5 hours. I checked on the beans periodically to make sure there was still plenty of water in them and they were not too soft. They turned out great. I divided them into four portions and froze three of them. I used the fourth for dinner.
I will no longer be using canned beans in our house.

A little side note:
I am a vegetarian and I have been for about 14 years now. I do not cook meat in fact I do not even know how to cook meat. Just because I do not eat meat does not mean that the rest of my family are vegetarians. Stephen can cook meat whenever he wants to, although he never does. Andon has turkey sandwiches sometimes and eats meat when we are out. I believe in giving my kids choices and letting them decide what is right for them. It does not matter to me if they choose to be a vegetarian or not, I just hope they make healthy choices.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cloth napkins

I started this blog to write about my experiences going green. Over the last year though I have posted mostly about my kids. Now I know we all love Andon and Brylynn but I am going to try to post more about my green life. I really want to encourage others by showing them how easy it can be to make better choices for themselves, their family, and the environment.

So with that in mind today I am thinking about my newest step at going green, cloth napkins. I have wanted to switch to cloth for a while now. For the past 2 weeks we were using the only 6 cloth napkins I had for our family. This obviously was not enough so the other day while I was out I found a ton of napkins on clearance at Bed Bath and Beyond. Every napkin I bought was $1 or less and I also got some placemats to go with my new napkins. Everywhere I go now I am looking for cute new napkins (I can see it becoming an obsession) I have also seen some cute napkins Etsy including ones just for children. I found that the cloth napkins are much easier for Andon to use and now he places his napkin on his lap at every meal. What more could I ask for then my 2 year old using a napkin correctly?

Our laundry room is right off the kitchen so after dinner when the napkins are dirty we just throw them in a basket for Monday’s wash. It is quite easy. We also got some more kitchen towels and have replacing our paper towels for almost everything. (We will still use paper towels for things like cat throw up) Last month we changed from using sponges to using dish cloths. My kitchen is getting very green.
I would have loved to buy organic cotton napkins but I had to settle for regular cotton because it is readily available and less expensive. Not everything can be done perfectly.

For those who only check my blog for the kids here are a few pictures for you.

Andon eating a popsicle (frozen organic apple juice) and helping dad vacuum

Bry loving bunny and sitting in the high chair ready to eat.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Planet Green

A new TV station started up last week called Planet Green. It has a lot of interesting shows about living ecofriendly. Check it out http://planetgreen.discovery.com/
Use this link to find the channel in your area.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Last night I picked some things out of my garden for dinner. I love it when I get to use fresh veggies and herbs for dinner. We are currently having a tomato and pepper overload in our garden so I decided to make some veggie sandwiches.

I cut everything up and cooked the onion and pepper in a little olive oil. I chopped up the basil and mixed it with some mayonnaise. I spread the mayonnaise on the outside of the bread. Then I layered cheese, tomatoes, pepper and onions in the sandwich. Stephen then grilled the sandwiches for about 5 minutes on each side.

Add some milk, banana, and veggie chips and we had a delicious meal.

Andon of course picked out the peppers and onion and just ate the cheese.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Facial Moisturizer

I have not tried this yet but I am making a mixture of Almond oil and Lavender to try as a facial moisturizer. If you try this please let me know what combination you tried and how it worked. I will post more here later after I have tried it.
Update: I have been using this for about a week now and I am very pleased. I place a very small amount on my fingers then rub it into my face in the morning and at night. It is light and not greasy as I thought it might be. I might try some other essential oils next time.

Facial Moisturizer
3 parts Carrier oil
1 part essential oils
1 part additions if desired

Mix carrier oil, additions if desired, and essential oils in a bottle. Place a few drops of the moisturizer in your hand and rub then gently rub onto face.

Normal Skin

Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, hazelnut
Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, geranium, fennel, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lemon, neroli, palmarosa, rose

Additions: borage seed, evening primrose, jojoba

Dry to Normal Skin

Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, avocado, olive oil, wheatgerm
Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, geranium, lavender, neroli, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, rosemary, sandalwood.

Additions: borage seed, evening primrose, jojoba

Oily to Normal Skin

Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, grapeseed, hazelnut
Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, cypress, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, palmarosa, pettigrain, rosemary

Additions: borage seed, evening primrose


Essential oils to combat wrinkles: carrot, German chamomile, clary sage, fennel, frankincense, lavender, lemon, lime, myrrh, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, rosemary, thyme

Additions: borage seed, evening primrose

Friday, April 18, 2008

Our Garden

With spring here our garden is growing strong. Stephen just made me two more garden boxes so I have twice as much room. Currently everything is crammed into two boxes but now I am expanding to the other two boxes. I have picked a handful of strawberries today and soon we will have tomatoes and squash. There is nothing better then fresh fruits and veggies from your own garden.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Carrot Cookies

Andon and I tried a recipe for carrot cookies the other day. They are very good more like little cakes then cookies but delicious. So I wanted to post the recipe. I made a few changes from = the original recipe in order to use what I had in the house.

Carrot Cookies
1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Orange Juice
1 Egg
1.5 - 2 cups grated Carrots
2 2/3 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

Cream the Butter and Sugar. Add Egg and Orange Juice. Combine Flour, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Add the flour mixture and the carrots alternately to the butter mixture. Mix to form dough. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 or 12-14 minutes.

I have found that a batch of almost any cookies is to much for our family at once. Instead of baking all of the cookies I scoop out the dough to make cookies but I then freeze the scoops. Once they are frozen I place them in a container which I keep in the freezer. When ever we want cookies I just heat up the oven and pull out the frozen cookies.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I have found that carrots grow like crazy here. Right now we have an abundance of them so I have been looking for ways to use them. I have developed a recipe for carrot bread which Andon and I made today while Brylynn took a nap (in her swing of course). I also found a recipe for what we call Carrot Butter Andon liked it and it made a good snack. I might try adding some cinnamon to it next time.

Carrot Bread
Mix together
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together then add to the flour mixture
3/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in
2 cups carrots

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Carrot Butter
1/2 cup pureed carrots
3 tablespoons cottage cheese
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve on crackers or bread.

Monday, March 3, 2008


With all my free time this past week I have gotten a lot done. My garden has been top on my list of to dos. So far I have planted squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, corn, beans, celery, and onions. I also already have broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, and carrots growing.
Yesterday I was overjoyed to find artichoke plants at Home Depot. I am so very excited because I love artichokes but I can never find them grown organically at the store. Although it has been my experience that artichokes take a couple of years to produce good fruit I can not wait. The only thing I have yet to plant that I would really like is asparagus.
We are also thinking of adding some berry plants to our yard. I would love to have blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. I have to do some research and planing but hopefully I can get some going soon.
We also have a lemon, peach, and apricot tree in the backyard. It is so much fun to grow our own fruit and veggies. Andon loves to pull up carrots and pick peaches.

On a side note anyone interested in cilantro please let me know. I love to cook with it but it grows so quickly that most of it goes to waste. If you ever want any just let me know.

All is ready for Brylynn's arrival on Friday. I promise to have pictures up as soon as I can. I do not think Andon has any clue what is about to happen but I know he will be a great big brother. He is having a wonderful time in CA visiting all his family out there. He especially loves his Auntie Em I think he would leave me for her in a heartbeat. Oh well at least I know he is well loved and happy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Natural Living Review of 2007

I can not believe it is already February. I wanted to sit down and think about my progress of moving to living more natural. What have I accomplished and what do I want to work toward this year.

Changes in 2007

1. Began an organic garden
2. Started a compost pile which has created some great soil for this years garden
3. Stopped using Chem Lawn and began Soils Alive an all natural alternative. Now I feel safe having Andon run and play in our grass.
4. Began cloth diapers with Andon. I have not bought disposables since April and I will not buy them at all with Brylynn.
5. Began buying organic cotton pajamas instead of conventional cotton for Andon. I hope to buy mostly eco friendly fabrics for Brylynn.
6. Stopped using chemical filled baby products on Andon
7. Switched all of my cleaning products. We now use Seventh Generation laundry soap and dishwasher detergent. For all other cleaning we use vinegar, backing soda, and water solutions.
8. Switched my beauty products. I use my own recipes for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face scrub, toothpaste, lotion, and lip balm. I use Everyday Minerals for my makeup.
9. Switched from using disposable sponges to washable dish cloths
10. I buy everything I can organic with as few ingredients as possible. I make cookies or other sweets to save money and control the ingredients.
11. I look at ingredient labels and do not buy products with ingredients I can not pronounce or do not know what it is.
12. Switched our cats to natural food with no chemicals or preservatives
13. Bought my own shopping bags for the grocery store
14. Bought reusable sandwich wraps for picnics or eating away from home
15. Stopped using Ziploc bags for storing food or anything else
16. Recycling everything we can instead of throwing it out
17. Started my own business using organic cotton yarn

Goals for 2008

1. Order natural nail polish. So I can paint my nails again.
2. Use less paper towels and more washable towels instead
3. Find a way to stop buying bottled water. I hate the taste of our tap water.
4. Get reusable non plastic water bottles for the family
5. Buy non plastic storage containers for leftovers
6. Change the cats litter to something better for the environment
7. Buy more organic cotton and eco friendly fiber clothes, towels, etc and less conventional materials
8. Work on a plan to produce more veggies from our garden and store them using my new food saver.

I also would love to help others begin a more natural life. Even if it is only one or two things you can make a big difference in your life and the environment. So if you have any questions on living more natural I would be glad to help you out.

I am sure there are other things I am forgetting about if you can think of anything else I have or could change let me know.