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Archive for the ‘Sparkle Motion’ Category

imagesOkay, since I have been conscience of “greeness” for some time, I have slowly been trying to change certain aspects of our lives.  In May, I’m going to work a little harder at those things I have tried to incorporate into our lives in the past and turn it into more a way of life so I don’t have to think about it.

Here’s the list:

Paper Towels
Paper Plates
Reusable lunch
No plastic water bottles
Less meat
Diaper Issue (plastic bags)

Today lets look at the paper towels.

Gotta love the paper towel.  Our towel roll sits on our kitchen/dining room table where it is easily accessible.  It moved from the kitchen counter as Munch got older.  We use it for napkins, spills, and plates.  I started using cloth towels to do more of the spill cleaning , counter and table cleaning.  I think our paper towel usage went down quite considerably.

Its so easy to grab a paper towel to clean something, though.  Then I can just throw it in the trash.  With towels I have to collect and clean them.  I have successfully incorporated cloth towels to clean Munch after a meal.  So now I just need to get use to using them for other cleaning uses.

I have all different kinds of cloth towels for different things: big white ones for messy spills and floor clean up, smaller white ones for wiping faces, hands or other foodies; blue cloths for cleaning with cleaning solution (I use “green” cleaners, but plan on switching to make my own so the separation of towels may not be necessary); and orange cloths for bathroom cleaning.  Is it weird to have this type of system?  It makes me feel better.  Poor Hubs has a hard time keeping up with the system.

I must say, I don’t see myself giving up paper towels to clean the toilet.  I can’t bring my self to use something re-usable.  Yuck!!  But I think I can limit it to just a few for the porcelain god.

I have cloth napkins which we never use.  Again, yuck, I hate using cloth napkins.  Even in fancy restaurant it gives me the heebeegeebies, but I will give it a go.  Note – gotta find them.

Under this category is the swifter sheets.  I use them to dust (sometimes) and on the floor (sometimes.)  I’ll have to think more on this.  I can easily use a microfiber cloth to dust.  I think I even have one.  But I’m not sure about the floor.  I’m in a losing battle with the dog hair and I don’t want to upset my strategy at the cost of a hairy home.  I usually just vacuum, but the swifter helps for a quickie and since the vacuuming only keeps the hair up for a few minutes or so, the swifting comes in handy.

Good bye Paper Towels!!  Well, we will just be seeing you a little less, but you are still invaluable.

I’ll keep you updated!!

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Okay, I know I have been lacking here for quite a while.  I have been struggling with perfectionism, vulnerability, and a busy schedule.   I struggle with the “fluffiness” of my writing here.  I want to delve into some deep, darker and controversial issues, but I am worried about my vulnerability since many who read actually know me.  I think I will find another outlet for that.

I do, however, want to keep up better with this.  I can feel free to be “fluffy” here and not feel held back since I can use my other outlet for deeper mush.

With that said, I have a new project to begin.  Yesterday was Earth Day.  I’ve been wanting for a long time to do more to help the earth and the next generation so I’m putting together a “Go Green Action Plan” for the next year.  After I get a plan set, I will share it and update you on my progress. I hope the few readers I do have (had before my sabbatical) will also join me in this challenge.  My hope is that I can get new ideas and inspire someone (anyone – is anyone out there?) to become more green.

The whole disposable diaper issue has been killing me for 2 plus years now.  Time to take care of that!!

So more to come soon.

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Horse

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Horse

Big, beautiful, wondrous creature
Your eyes so intense
Your stature so immense

Big, beautiful, wondrous creature
Your presence in tranquility
Your essence in stability

Big, beautiful, wondrous creature
My hand in quivers
My heart in shivers

Big, beautiful, wondrous creature
My life has been forever touched
For I could never love you too much

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Success!  I made the dough, the filling and the frosting.  All thanks to Pioneer Woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/).  Her great, amazing, easy recipe.  My rolls were not as pretty as hers, but for a first try, I thought they turned out pretty good.

I was in a huge rush making them for Munch’s Music Class party, so I didn’t do any pictures.  For shame!!  So now I have no pictures to share, but this was such a big thing for me, I had to share the story anyway.

Let me go back a little.  The recipe calls for Maple Flavoring.  Ever heard of that?  I hadn’t, but I don’t bake so what do I know?  One of the reasons I love Pioneer Woman’s site and her recipes is because she posts pictures along with the recipe so you can see what she is doing.  She also shows all the ingredients so at least when I’m roaming around the store looking for something, I will have an idea of what I’m looking for.  So the Maple Flavoring looked a lot like Vanilla Extract so I knew it should be around there somewhere.  They had all kinds of flavoring; coconut, strawberry, rum and so many others I don’t even remember, but no Maple.  (Big sigh everyone) SIGH!  This is one of the main reasons I don’t like to cook/bake.  So I called Hubs for help.  I begged for him to make a trip to a different grocery store on the way home, to no avail.  He looked up the stuff on the Internet for me and said I could order it.  Big help since I needed it for the next day.  He did say that some of the comments on Pioneer Woman’s site said they used vanilla extract instead and with that in mind, I moved on.

At the checkout, a grocery employee asked me if I found everything I needed.  Now I usually say yes even though that is almost never the case, but this time I said no and by the look on her face, I knew that everyone else says yes too.  After her initial shock and her deer in headlights look dissipated she suggested calling “grocery” to see if they have what I was looking for.  Of course, they didn’t have it.  I decided to use Vanilla extract.

So I go home with all the necessary ingredients in my bags, so I thought.  I made the dough the day before and kept in fridge over night.  The next day, Munch and I had a little birthday party in the morning which ran long.  After about 2 hours, we ended up leaving before cake, games or presents.  I had a tight schedule to keep.  We had to be at the music party at 3:30 and it was now 12:30.  Hubs is never happy that I try to do it all in one day, all at once, last minute.  Is there another way?  If so, I don’t know how to get anything done unless its all in one day, all at once, last minute.

The recipe says split the dough in half so you make 2 separate batches.  Which I did.  I have never rolled out dough, that I can remember, but my experience was you learn quick.  Use a lot of flour, put some on the rolling pin, push from the middle to get it an even layer and don’t roll it too thin or it tears.  So my first batch was a little thin and my insides of the roll did a lot of splurging out all over, but the first batch tasted the best.  “Why?” you ask.  Cinnamon.  I thought I had a whole jar of cinnamon.  I didn’t.  I only had enough for the first batch.  Thinking on my toes, I used a cinnamon and sugar mixture I had.  I just reduced the amount of sugar I added to counter the sugar in the sugar and cinnamon mix.  After having learned a lot about dough from the first batch, the second batch rolled out better, but they didn’t have that nice cinnamony color and they tasted more sugary than cinnamony, but who wouldn’t like a sugar roll?  Besides the frosting really makes up for anything wrong in the creation of the rolls.

I know, it figures.  Someday I will have my act together.  Chalk it up to another lesson.  Always check the ingredients you think you have in the pantry before you go shopping.

We made it to the party on time with both batches of rolls.  You must understand that these rolls were more than just a dessert to bring to a party.  These rolls were redemption.  There was a contest and I had been in this contest last year when I made a pasta salad.  When I put the pasta salad on the table last year someone made the comment “the odds are good you will win, since there aren’t many salads.”  There was a winner and runner up for each category and last year I think there were only 3 or 4 salads.  I didn’t win anything.  I was hurt, defeated and grumpy.  How dare they?  Don’t they know that this pasta salad was the one thing I thought I could make?

Redemption, sweet redemption!! !!  First prize for my rolls.  I strategically placed the “good” rolls out first so I knew the judges would taste these.  I hate to tell you that I ended up being one of the judges because I had volunteered to help set up.  However, I promise I did not open my mouth when the dessert decision was made.  They truly liked them.

Here’s my worry: They announced the winners to the whole group.  What were the people thinking who tasted the second batch?  Oh bother.  They were still good, believe me.  I saved one pan of the second batch for us to eat here and they didn’t last the weekend.  And its just a fun little competition.  Oh bother.  I’m getting grumpy again….

After being a judge I have a new respect for the process and even if I hadn’t won, I would have felt better about the pasta salad incident.  Still, I think the rolls were a huge success even if the woman who entered the cookies is cursing my lack of cinnamon name.  I made them from scratch.  I made dough!!  I made an amazing frosting.  For effort and tanacity, I should have won anyway, sorry cookie lady.

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One of the playgroups my daughter and I belong to has many activities throughout the month. This past Wednesday we went to a play date that included a Valentine’s Day Swap. The idea is to create, make, buy a little gift for each of the 10 other women attending. The cost is suppose to be low, especially considering you must have 10 gifts to swap. Then you everyone swaps their gifts and you end up getting 10 unique gifts to bring home to your husband for Valentine’s.

I struggled over what to bring for days. I wanted to be creative, but provide something the men would really enjoy. I asked Hubs for help thinking of what a man would like to receive (other than expensive stereo equipment or other electronics). “Beer.” Needless to say, he was little help. The quickest way to a man’s heart, they say, is through their stomach. I didn’t want to bake anything, though, for 2 reasons. One, I thought everyone would do that (no one did,) and two, and more importantly, I can’t bake. I won’t go into the whole cookie – baking soda vs. baking powder fiasco. So what else would a man really be into? What is Valentine’s about for a man? Smack! Sex of course. Ahh, now I was on to something.

So I came up with a “sex” type game I made with index cards. With my inner psychotherapist coming out, I thought maybe I could actually benefit a couple’s relationship. I created 2 sets of cards.

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One set are the questions. The questions are geared toward how well you know each other (mostly intimately.)

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If your partner gets the answer wrong, then he draws a card from the “naughty” pile. These cards are an action you must perform.

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All of my actions were tame, but there are 5 wild cards that the players can use at their discretion.

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I had fun coming up with the questions and naughty cards. It took quite a long time to actually create them.

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I decorated the cards with glitter and stickers. I put the cards in a little bag with 6 little candles, some candies and directions to the game.

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I’m very curious about how the game with go over with everyone. I hope someone actually plays the game and has fun.

As it turned out, only 6 women showed. I came home from the swap with lots of candy, a little wooden finger play, a dice game, a little thing of hot oil, and a homemade Valentine’s card.

Happy V Day!!

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