Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Find-a great read to inspire you

This book is really amazing, please pick up a copy. Our library has it so I bet yours does too, but I think it’s one of those reference books that you will want to have on hand instead of a “quick read”.
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So much research has been put into it and it’s such a resource to check all the products in your home (including food and medicine). I have gone through all our stuff and though I thought I had a good understanding on the dangerous chemicals and had been omitting them, I still found some less desirable ingredients.  They were “less talked about” hazards in some stuff we use like medicine and body products. Ugh! I am sick about what we have still been exposed to, but all I can do is rid ourselves of them now that I have the knowledge and find better alternatives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Target never disappoints…

Have you seen the new “Green” paper goods at Target? I have really been working on getting myself organized and freshening up the "utilitarian" tools for organizing. I have been needing a few little notebooks, an organizer and a new file folder for paid bills. I love that they are “Green”; some are printed on FSC certified paper with soy ink and the other are recycled paper.
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I LOVE TARGET, don’t you?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quick Summer Pillows

Yes, I know it does seem silly to do a post about making summer pillows when it’s about halfway through summer(although summer weather didn’t seem to start here until July)…I just remembered that I did this project a little over a month ago and with all the party planning and guests we have had, it totally slipped my mind to post about it. Not to mention the pillows I originally bought to go with these hand made pillows didn’t work out so I wasn’t completely pleased with the final look of the sofa. Then when I wasn't even looking for pillow covers, I stumbled across them in the exact green I was looking for when I was at Crate & Barrel on clearance. YEAH!
I generally prefer a more subdued color scheme-but this summer I just have a thing for the citrus green I am seeing out there. I was craving some new summer pillows and when I saw this fabric at Joann-I knew I had a new project to do. I am by no means a skilled sewer-but I do a solid job with basic sewing. It took me about 3 hours for both pillows including the time consuming hand-stitch at the end to close the pillow up. I was able to get this done at naptime. I love quick projects like this!
I wanted a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around, so I cut my fabric out 18” x 18”. After I take my measurements, I pin and then iron a crease so I have a straight line to cut (I am the worst cutter without a guide).
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after the front and backs are cut, I pin and sew all the way around leaving about a 10inch opening to put in the pillow form.
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I cut the corners so they are crisp once you turn the pillow right-side out
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I iron once I turn the pillow right-side out and poke out the corners(you can use a craft bone folder to get a good crisp corner, too) and fold down the opening 1/2 inch and iron and then insert the pillow.
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Then turn on your favorite program and start hand-sewing the opening shut…(it was a good excuse to watch some tv; I have hardly been watching any lately as part of my goal to get more accomplished). I came across this saying recently, “if you feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done, stop watching tv and you will be amazed at how much more time you have”. I didn’t think I had been watching much, but even if it was just an hour or so a day, I’d rather spend it doing something I consider enjoyable and maybe check off some of those decorating projects I wish to complete but just never have the "time" for…
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Voila..(the green pillows are the ones I got a deal on at Crate & Barrel)
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I hope this inspires you to make quick updates to your home. You will be so satisfied when you are able to whip up a couple pillows to freshen up your sofa, bed, etc. What’s also great is that you don’t have to spend a lot, so you can change it up seasonally if you want. I had these pillow forms from other pillows I had made that I tired of. If you don’t have extra pillow forms, you can find some polyfilled ones at Joann or Hobby Lobby or for down filled, Calico Corners, Potterybarn, or Company Store online. If you are a more skilled sewer, you could put a zipper in and just switch out the covers…hmmm, I think I am going to challenge myself to do that on my next pillows. It saves on pillow forms which is both kinds of “green”. Smile

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

this just resonates with me…

I picked this up at Cocoon, a home d├ęcor boutique in downtown Geneva, IL during Sweedish Days. It really spoke to me as it is a reminder on how I really want to focus my life. Now, I am looking for the perfect place to hang it.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple. Healthy. Natural.

I am finding these days lately are busy, busy, busy. I am really trying to prioritize and find time to do what’s important to me and to be able to balance it all. I am constantly trying to simplify what I can. Sometimes when we think about all we want/have to do, cooking healthy meals is the first thing to be thrown by the wayside. But, it doesn’t have to be time consuming to be healthy! One way is to use Wildtree products. They have such a vast assortment of starters for soups, meals and baked goods, seasonings, sauces and grapeseed oils (did you know these are much healthier for you?). What’s different about Wildtree is that these “packaged” foods don’t have any of the icky chemicals for preserving found in a lot of the packaged foods available. If you can’t cook from scratch, you still want to be assured that what you are feeding your family is healthy and natural-Wildtree just makes it simple for us.
I have just recently tried some of their products and just love them so far-
Rancher Steak Rub- I use on red meat, chicken and pork
Scampi Blend- I have used this on both chicken and fish
Dill Dip Blend (I was buying the dill dip in the store for all the fresh veggies we were eating-I did not realize that a lot of them have high fructose corn syrup in them-not to mention I love that I could use greek yogurt instead of sour cream; this tried seasoning lets me tailor my dips and you can make as little or as much as you need so nothing goes to waste)
Natural Butter Flavored Grapeseed oil-this is a great alternative to using butter on your popcorn-just pop it in this oil and add salt if you wish. It’s REALLY good I must say and then you have a great low-cal popcorn snack!
Roasted Garlic Grapeseed oil-so far I have used this for sauteeing chicken or brushing on homemade pizza(Wildtree carries pizza crust kits). We LOVE garlic in this house, even Reed. He has always like flavorful foods-he has a pretty sophisticated palate for a 2 year old. Smile

Check out Stacy’s Wildtree site here.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Green Item-Rain Barrel

I am chuckling as I write about this…we have not had a good amount of rain in weeks-so my rain barrel hasn’t been much use lately…
But, when we do have regular precipitation, it’s awesome. I use it to water flower pots and the garden. It’s great not having to turn on the outside hose.
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The key to this really filling up is a diverter that attaches to the downspout. When the barrel gets full, the water is redirected out the downspout so there is no overflow.
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We got this in 2008 at www.gardeners.com. Now, they have more subdued colors…don’t get me wrong, I am partial to green, but I would of liked something that stood out less. At least it’s on the side of the house that no one really sees and the shrubs are almost tall enough to disguise the diverter from the patio vantage point. Smile

Have a great weekend! Ours will have a little R&R and some great friends over for dinner.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reed turned 2…

So last week Jeff was on vacation and it was just a whirlwind…between appointments that I wanted to get in while he was home, trying to potty train,  get ready for house guests and have a small, “simple” birthday party. I am still “recovering”; I do not feel up to doing a whole lot of anything. I have managed to do some chores like laundry and cleaning so I don’t get completely behind and get all crabby and stressed preparing for guests this weekend. I realized nothing I do is simple, so I need to devise a better plan of attack for future years. I am sure a lot of it comes down to procrastination on decisions. I had so many ideas-but couldn’t make up my mind and in the end, time runs out and I am not able to do everything I wanted. I need to keep focus on what the purpose of the party is supposed to be. It was about celebrating Reed, not all the little things I stress about…

Nonetheless, we had a great party and it was a perfect summer evening. I was so busy getting everything finalized, I didn’t take the pictures I had wanted to for this post. Several years ago, we invested in buffet plates, acrylic glasses and a ton of matching napkins to be able to reuse again and again as we have parties. Last year, I added 2 drink dispensers, these are great-we had lemonade in one and sparkling sangria in the other…yummy! This year I also picked up some more melamine plates for the kids, I figure we will be using those for many years to come. I only bought some plastic forks and disposable tablecloths b/c the size we needed was so long.

Here’s a couple pictures from his party…

I have seen these banners a lot out in blog land and wanted to try making one myself.

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Family photo…

we had lots of water activities for the kids-so we just put Reed in his bathing suit

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Beach ball sprinkler for a warm summer night

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Reed eating dessert-his first ice cream sandwich, chocolate of course

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I think Reed enjoyed his birthday with his family and friends!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Green Item-Dryer Balls

Happy Friday!
To cut down waste and use of dryer sheets-the film on them can build up and ruin your dryer, try these reusable dryer balls. You can use these on all of your laundry, but to keep towels at the most absorbent (especially microfiber towels-it will ruin them), you should not use any fabric softener or dryer sheets. These make the towels even fluffier than drying alone.  I got mine a few years ago at Bed Bath & Beyond.
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Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!
We are hoping the weather cooperates for tomorrow’s family pictures outside and friends over for a cookout on Sunday.
What are your plans?