May 26, 2010

Squeaky Clean, the Earth-Friendly Way!

It seems that it's always time to clean again.  And the only time I'm in the mood to clean is when it is time to leave the house to go to work! Of course, by the time I'm back home again, the mood has passed.

And then there's the woman who, every time she felt like cleaning,  went to lie down for awhile until that feeling passed.  That sounds like me, too!

Many of the products we use to keep our homes fresh and clean are made with harmful chemicals.

So make your own safe, natural cleaners.  Follow the recipes below to keep your home squeaky clean--the earth-friendly way.  They come from the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE) and published in 1998--long before it was popular to go green!  (photo, Carla F. Castagno,

Shine-On Window Cleaner
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap
Mix the ingredients and pour them into a clean spray bottle.  Shake well before using.

Friendly Flush
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup borax
toilet brush
Pour the baking soda into the toilet bowl.  Scrub  with the brush.  Next, add the borax.  Allow the mixture to sit for one hour.  Then give a quick scrub and flush!

Clog Buster
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup lemon juice
Pour the baking soda into a clogged drain.  Then pour in the lemon juice.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.  Run hot water down the drain for ten seconds.

Smile Tile Cleaner
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup liquid hand soap
2 gallons warm water
Combine the ingredients in a bucket.  Spread the mixture over tiles with a sponge. Then scrub away!

Magic Furniture Polish
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Put the ingredients in a clean jar with a tight lid.  Shake well.  Rub on furniture with a clean rag.

Save the world, one project at a time.

May 10, 2010

Mummies Just Want Your Toilet Paper

Have you ever entertained yourself in a card shop, reading all the funny cards that you are not intending to buy?  I have laughed myself silly at times.  And then I've gone ahead and bought about ten cards, not knowing who I was even going to send them to, but sure I'd use them eventually.

I've found the same is true with sayings on clothing.

For the past three weeks, I've carried around with me a small notebook and pen.  I've written down every saying on a tee shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie that made a connection with me in some way.  Enjoy!

Mummies just want your toilet paper.

Working hard?  Me?  Absolutely--I've always found working hard.

Am I responsible?  Yes.  Every time something goes wrong, my boss says I'm responsible!  (This one is definitely my all-time favorite!)

I log on to blog on.

It's all about me.

It wasn't me.

Sarcasm is one of the services I offer.

You don't agree with me?  So, you can be wrong the rest of your life.

Mishpelt werds eeritate me. (No, I have not made a typing mistake here.)

Let's fix it peace by peace.

According to the chart, I'm not fat, I'm just 63 inches too short.

Procrastinators of the world unite! . . . tomorrow.

Does this diaper make my butt look big? (This shirt worn by a baby.)

So I drool, can't always be cool. (Also worn by a baby.)

To be old and wise, first you must be young and stupid.

I didn't ask to be a princess, but if the crown fits . . .

We're not old people, we're recycled teenagers.

And I didn't even have to go farther than 35 miles from home  to read all these free, amusing sayings!

May 6, 2010

Ninety-four Ways to Enjoy Chocolate!

What do all of these have in common?  (Come on, this is easy!)

Your own personal stash, carefully hidden away.
Valentine's Day, hearts
Easter, bunnies and eggs
Christmas, boxes of delectable bites
Halloween, individually-wrapped pieces
Hanukkah, coins
Weddings and Parties, fondue fountains
Birthdays, cakes

That's right, Chocolate!

And you may want to make these cupcakes to fit any of the above. No need to be guilt ridden even if the only reason you eat chocolate is because it tastes good. There is evidence that chocolate (particularly dark) has health benefits.  These include the following effects: anticancer, brain stimulator, prevents coughing, and improves the circulatory system.

So, go ahead!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Cream together:
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt

Add chocolate chips and set aside this "white mixture."

Next, mix the following "dark mixture" together:
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs vinegar
2/3 cup oil
2 cups water

Fill cupcake holders 1/2 full with the dark mixture.  Spoon a rounded teaspoon of white mixture in middle of the dark.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.  This recipe makes 3 dozen cupcakes.  Enjoy!

May 4, 2010

Would You Pick Up a Penny?

If you saw a penny on the ground, would you pick it up?  I wouldn't.  After all, it's just a penny.  Why, if I wanted to buy a candy bar for 98 cents using picked-up pennies, I'd have to bend down 98 times!

There is a suggestion out there that the US should do away with pennies because it costs more to make them than they are worth.  The other side of that argument is that if prices are rounded up to the nickel instead of using the penny, we will all be paying more for our goods.

At least we can all agree that, monetarily, a penny is worth almost nothing. 

However, don't stop with that thought!   I have just finished reading a book in which a penny is so important that it was given the honor of being the title of the book!

The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford is a powerful, can't-stop-reading kind of book.  I literally could not stop reading until the very last chapter, paragraph, and word.  And then there was still the epilogue to hungrily devour!

Fourteen-year-old Jenny Blake and her older sister Jean were living at home with their abusive father. Jean  thought she had escaped the helpless situation by  going away to to college.  But when she returned, she remarked that, "There's no way out, really, is there? . . . This house.  What Daddy does to us," she said. "You can't run away from it, . . .  It follows you every place you go."

But--don't forget about the picked-up penny! 

Early in the book, Jenny says: "That's the very moment I first saw the penny.  And that's the moment where this story really begins.  The penny lay wheat-side-up on the ground, so dirty as to almost be invisible. . . I wasn't accustomed to picking up pennies . . . A penny is such a little thing--it's never been worth much.  I stared at it, stepped over it, and headed toward my sister . . .I did walk past the penny at first.  When something whispered, Pick it up, Jenny--little things make a big difference, my heart almost paused in my chest.  And I knew it without a doubt.  As surely as if someone well trusted had whispered it in my ear.  This moment has something to do with your destiny It was only a matter of seconds before I went back.  Seconds, I found out later, that would change everything.  

Oh, if you only read one book from now until the year 2015, let it be, The Penny!  This book begins with a dirty, picked-up penny.  That same penny leads to new friendships, forgiveness, freedom, and changed lives.

May 3, 2010

Nominations For The World's Worst Mothers

Nominations for the world's worst mothers . . . in the Animal Kingdom, that is!

We all want to believe that animal mothers always take good care of their young.  But they don't always!

A female ostrich leaves her eggs immediately after she lays them.  It is the male that keeps the eggs warm so they hatch. He is the one who looks after the young and teaches them to live on their own.  (photo by Darrensp,

A Magellanic Penguin mother will lay two eggs and want both to hatch.  Her "worst mother" tendencies show up when she gives 90% of the fish to one chick.  Of course, that one grows and grows while the smaller chick cries pitifully for food and dies in the coldness of Antarctica.  A Royal Penguin mother lays two eggs every season.  The second egg is over a half larger than the first egg laid, so the mother simply rolls the first egg out of the nest.  So long, baby Royal!

Black Bears want to have two or three cubs in their litters.  It takes just as much time and involvement to raise just one cub as to raise twins or triplets.  So, often when a black mama bear has just one cub, she will abandon it, hoping to give her efforts to raising a larger litter the next time.  Apparently just one cub simply isn't worth the effort!  (Photo by Eppic,

The African Black Eagle is definitely in the running for one of the worst animal mothers.  Usually she lays two eggs.  But then mommy eagle will feed only one chick.  The stronger chick will eventually peck the weaker chick to death.  Mommy just looks on, emotionless while one of her babies is being killed.

We usually think of  lionesses feeding and caring for all the cubs in their particular pride.  However, when a new male takes over the group, he kills any cubs in order to keep them from eventually challenging him for his position as head of the pride.  The lionesses allow all of this to happen without objecting.  And, of course, not having young cubs, caused the lionesses to go into heat sooner, enabling the new head male to begin his own dynasty. 

The cuckoo is, in my opinion, the laziest of all mothers!  She will lay her egg in another bird's nest. So another mother takes on the job of hatching and raising the baby cuckoo.   The cuckoo egg usually hatches before the other eggs so the cuckoo chick grows faster than the other baby birds.  The smaller birds are pushed out of the nest and die.  Then the cuckoo gets all the attention of the adoptive parents.

Can you add any other "worst mothers in the animal kingdom?"

Hey, Mom!

(photo by

Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated on the second Sunday in May in the United States.  It is a day when children (small and adult) honor their mothers with gifts, flowers, and cards. 

In 1908, Ana Jarvis from West Virginia, U.S., started a campaign to observe a national Mother's Day.  She began with convincing her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate all mothers on the anniversary of her own mother's death.

Jarvis, along with others, began a letter-writing campaign to ministers, businessmen, and politicians.  They urged support for their idea of a national Mother's Day.  It worked!  President Woodrow Wilson made an official announcement in 1914.  He proclaimed that Mother's Day would be a national observance held each year on the second Sunday in May.

The United States is not the only country honoring Mothers.  Many other countries celebrate Mother's Day at different times throughout the year.  Only Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day the same day as the United States.