Monthly Archives: April 2010

Green Clean

This week the life layer that’s front and center in my¬†mind is green. Maybe it’s Earth Day, maybe it’s seeing everything in bloom as Spring pounces on us . . . whatever the reason, I’m trying to think more green for my family. I want to set a good example for my kids and teach them to be responsible and conservative with our resources. I know with some people, they tend to go ridiculously overboard any time they undertake a new project. I’m slowly changing our habits starting with recycling plastic and paper.

Adding to that project, I’m currently on the prowl for non-chemical, green products for my kids. The first phase of this has been eliminating chemical cleaning products from our home. This is a necessity for several reasons. My daughter has started helping me clean, but little hands still go in little mouths and eyes. Another is that our Dalmatian mix has started having seizures and the vet suggested that harsh cleaning chemicals can lower her threshold.

My favorite go to so far is plain old white vinegar–that stuff is seriously a miracle worker. I use it instead of fabric softner (which you shouldn’t use anyway as it is hard on your machine). It’s also great on pet stains as it works to neutralize odor as well as taking out the stain itself. And when I don’t need to do any heavy duty cleaning, I like to use it to wipe down surfaces. My husband’s sink for some reason gets crazy build up and so I mix it with baking soda to make a paste and it scrubs most of that build up.

For heavy duty cleaning, right now I am using Essentials by Arm and Hammer. It’s plant based, so it’s safe for my family and the refills cut down on waste. It’s pretty good for kitchens and bathrooms (I use the multi-purpose).

My next green-clean project is finding a good detergent that won’t kill my wallet, as well as something for polishing furniture and something¬† for mirrors and glass.

Some ‘green’ brands I have heard good things about: Seventh Generation, Better Life, Herb N’ Organics, Method Home, and Mrs. Meyers. I’ve actually ordered Herb N’ Organics sample cleaning line which includes glass cleaner and furniture polish, as well as their pepperminth bathroom cleaner. I’m interested to see how it works. We are almost out of our old detergent and I think I will give Seventh Generation a spin since it is readily available here in town.

I would like to continue to integrate environmentally friendly items into my life and I’ve started with baby number two by researching hybrid and cloth diapering options. More to come on that as well.

Until next time, eat cake and have it, too.

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Categories: The Little People and Furry Friends | 1 Comment

Over the Lips

Part of my identity crisis comes from the desire to balance and add layers to my life. At the core, I know who I am. Now it’s just a matter of adding new facets. Today I will address one of the biggest issues in my family’s life:

Food

I will admit perhaps my greatest shame first: my family has terrible eating habits. We exist on take out and junk food. My husband has eating related health issues (thyroid, IBS) and my three-year old eats crap or not at all. I’ve struggled to eat healthy all my life, but it has mostly been a long list of failed diets. My husband works so much and we are both so drained, that our eating is just an after thought.

I do believe I can take control of this situation. My daughter is at the age where she can still learn good habits. I don’t really want to put my family on any sort of trendy eating program. I would like to eat more fresh ingredients, more whole grains, more lean proteins while cutting out the processed, fast food crap we subsist on.

We live in the middle of the West Texas desert, so fresh ingredients are hard to come by and costly. We have a health food store, but their fruits always look like they’ve gone ten rounds. Luckily, we are entering the season when our local farmers market opens. I have never been and I am dragging my mom this weekend to check it out.

I will proudly say that I did feed my family a homemade meal earlier this week and I have been doing better with the meals I eat on my own.

My daughter helped me make a wonderful salad the other night. Yes, she’s only three, but I think it’s important to let her help. We did spinach and halved grape tomatoes, coated it with a Dash dressing, and topped it with some cheese crumbles we had on hand (gargonzola).
By Dash dressing, I mean something I threw together from stuff we had in the house. Here’s the basics for it and you can use what you have on hand.
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T Balsamic Vinegar (we used Apple Cider because we were out of Balsamic–use whatever flavored vinegar you have)
1 T Dijon or other flavored mustard (we used Cranberry because it’s what we had)
Whisk together with a fork and toss with the salad.

What I loved about this salad was that aside from cutting up the tomatoes, my toddler did it herself. She has a blast tossing everything together and using our salad utensils to serve everyone. The next day she couldn’t wait to tell her grandparents that she made salad. (It tasted really good, too!)

My other favorite meal discovery this week is my throw together chicken salad. Normally I love tuna, but being preggers, I have to avoid it, especially the canned stuff. Instead, I just took a can of chicken, added 1 T of unflavored Greek Yogurt, and flavored with dried dill. It was so good I would have licked my bowl had I not been at work. The Greek yogurt not only adds some texture, it’s a healthy diary. Next time I’m going to use half a whole grain pita for a little sandwich.

I think the problem so many families have with eating well is that it seems time consuming and expensive. I don’t have the time, funding, or energy to make from scratch macrobiotic meals every night. So my goal is to begin using recipes like those above that are healthier, fresher, inexpensive, and easy to make. Cause isn’t that what every mom wants?

Until next time, try to use some whole wheat flour when you make your cake and eat it, too.

Categories: Feed the Belly, The Little People and Furry Friends | Leave a comment

Hello world!

“Because these days we want our ingenues to be everything: all sweetness and light bondage.”
-Anonymous

By the time I turned 25, I thought I had figured out exactly who I was. I knew what I was good at, what I struggled with, and what my aspirations were. With no doubts, I married my rock star soul mate and settled into working on my masters degree. We knew we would someday start our careers, get health insurance, and start a family–in that order.

One year into our marriage we managed to buy our first house and together, in our pseudo-intellectual way (it included a pro and con list), we decided to start a family. Our daughter was born in 2006 while I was working on the second year of my masters. The fall of her second birthday I started my career (not job, career) as a college professor. It was the first post-grad school job I applied for. I’m lucky.

Now I’m over halfway through my second year of teaching and my second (and final pregnancy). And I find, that with everything that has commensed, I am in the middle of an identity crisis. See, I’m too young to be Generation X and almost too old to be the true Techno Generation. Who I am as a person hasn’t, for the most part, changed. But what I want, how I want to live–that’s where the crisis erupts.

As a college teacher, I am young enough to share some of the same music tastes as my students but old enough to think Gossip Girl is utter crap. I understand the appeal of Twilight but also think that Buffy the Vampire is far superior.

The thing is, I still want to be me–still love the things I love. But I also want to be a teacher for my kids. Sure, my daughter knows that the Ramones are amazing, but there is more to life than that, n’est pas?

It’s funny that things have come to this point. When Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, one of her chief assertions was that women lost their identities in their families. I now of have a strange bastardization of that issue. I need to know how to layer on my identity as a mom, wife, and teacher with what is already there.

So in this techno world, I have decided to organize my exploits here as I try to balance being an intellectual, a teacher, a wife, a mom, and a pop culture enthusiast with everything else random in the world. My posts will deal with a variety of topics as they occur in my life–health, food, children, literature, education, homemaking, fashion, and whatever else life brings to my attention.

Stay tuned.

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense | 2 Comments

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