To mop, or not to mop? That is the question.

I need a mop, and I’ll be in town tomorrow.  Can I have some fast opinions on how to get the most for my money?  We have about 700 square feet of vinyl tile to mop now, but hope to have vinyl tile in all 1200 square feet someday soon.

Is it worthwhile to buy something big and fancy and self-wringing?  Would you invest in one of those wringer-buckets?  Should I stick with the $4.95 mop so I can afford to replace it regularly, or get something heavy duty and industrial?  String mop or cloth?  Paper or plastic?  Would you like fries with that?

Do you have a more creative idea for getting the floor clean that you’d like to share? I’ve tried the idea in which we don’t mop, but since the baby will crawling soon it seems like a good time to try something new.

Laughter keeps us nice

Since Bethany and The Boy have a ba-a-a-a-d case of diarrhea – what’s that?  TMI? Too Much Info?  I haven’t even started with the details yet…

Anyway, since there is sickness in the house, I had a nice chat with a friend this morning about potty humor and boys and the whys and wherefores thereof.  We found ourselves talking about the hidden laugh – the one you do even though you really don’t want your kids to see you laughing because IT’S NOT FUNNY.  Like when The Boy serenaded his baby sister:  “My butt is in my underwear, my underwear, my underwear,” or the one about “Your poop is yummy to yoooooo!

I often find myself trying to cover a smile or hide the fact that I’m laughing because I don’t want to encourage the behavior, or I want to make sure that my correction is taken seriously.  But you know what?  I hope it never gets too easy.  I want to always fight that laugh.  I’d much rather struggle with my own laughter than my anger while correcting a child – especially when I’m correcting foolish immaturity rather than rebellion.

If they do catch on?  Well, usually they knew it was funny anyway.  They knew they wouldn’t get off the hook just because they made us laugh.  So the laugh doesn’t help them, it just helps us.  And since we were created in God’s image, it makes me wonder if God ever laughs at our foolishness, even while He chastens us.

My solar oven…

…like most of my projects, did not turn out looking just like the photos.  I rushed a bit, didn’t quite read all the instructions to the very end, didn’t take the time to follow the instructions precisely, and didn’t quite have all the right materials.

So I’m really curious how my dinner rolls will turn out.  40 minutes and counting…I figured in south Texas, we had a bit of leeway.  We could probably just set the food out in the sun and it would cook.  We’ll see if I took too many liberties, because we already know that the technology is sound.  A friend of mine has brownies to prove it.

Sorry, no photos.  Can’t find the cable.  Don’t want to look harder.  Anyway, my solar oven is not as pretty as the two my friend made.  Furthermore, I smell my backup rolls in the electric oven, and I suddenly have something more important to do than hunt electronics accessories.

I need your input: sprouting

We’re getting crunchier by the moment.  I ground my own wheat today and made bread and English muffins.   We started building a solar oven this morning, though we need another box to make the lid.  Hubby expressed an interest in trying my baking soda/cornstarch/tea tree oil deodorant.  I’ve even been thinking about trying my hand at sourdough so I’m not entirely dependent upon store-bought yeast.  Well, OK.  I really just love sourdough bread.  The yeast thing was totally an excuse.

I’m ready now to revisit sprouting, but I desperately want your input before I spend too much money on sprouty gadgets that will make you all laugh and shake your collective head at me.

My mom has a Sprout Master which she absolutely loves.  She says she struggled with mold and slime when she used jars and cheesecloth, but her Sprout Master has been pure plastic perfection.  It’s not cheap, but perfection rarely is, even when it’s made of plastic.

Have you tried sprouting seeds?  What do you use?  What problems have you experienced, and did you find an easy solution?

Which sprouts do you eat raw, and which are better cooked?

Where do you buy your seeds?

I’m all ears.  Tell me everything you know.

No Shampoo week 6: the saga continues

I’m afraid I spoke a bit hastily last week.  Success was too strong a word.  My hair does seem to be improving, but it’s still very oily.

I had used the egg/lemon juice mixture on Wednesday morning, and when last Saturday rolled around my hair was still feeling pretty clean.  I forgot that it had only been 72 hours, and failed to give enough credit to the power of the egg shampoo.  Now, 7 days later, we’re still having some significant oiliness.  It doesn’t look like Week 2, but it also doesn’t look like success.   I didn’t use egg at all this week.  I’m going to hold off on the egg for a bit and see how things progress.

On the bright side, the fact that my hair still looked and felt clean 72 hours after an egg shampoo represents a tremendous change for the better!  I may not be done with the adjustment period, but I’m still very encouraged.

Photos?  I don’t know…my hair still stays up or braided.  You won’t see a difference unless I let it down, and I’m not ready to do that.


On a related topic, I stopped using facial cleansers when I stopped using shampoo.  My oily-but-sensitive skin was always uncomfortably tight after cleaning, then shiny and oily again within an hour or two.  Moisturizers didn’t seem to help.

But when I started washing with just warm water and a cloth, the results were very different.  I’ve never had good skin – large pores and 10 years of adolescent acne – but I can honestly say it has never looked better.  I’ve had no acne, far less oil, and it’s softer and smoother than ever.  The change in my skin has actually encouraged me to persevere with my hair.

Frugal movies

I’m adding something new to our page of affiliate links (Stuff We Love tab at the top).  It’s Netflix.Try Netflix for Free!

We are careful about what we watch, and often have a hard time finding something suitable to rent.  I also have to say I feel vaguely guilty just standing in B’Buster looking at what’s available.  I’ve come out of the store feeling like I need to bleach my eyeballs!

I think online rentals help a lot with both issues.  I have to warn you: Netflix does have a category you’ll want to steer clear of entirely.  Ugh.  But on the bright side, you’re not accosted with the sight of the covers of all those videos while you search for safe, clean choices.

Netflix offers:

  • Over 100,000 titles on DVD – from classics to new releases to TV episodes.  OK, the banner says 65,000 but the website says 100,000.  You wanna count and get back to me on that?
  • Instant downloads – choose from over 12,000 movies (some new releases) & TV episodes (including current season) online on your PC or Mac or on your TV via an Internet connected Netflix ready device.  This is our favorite part!
  • No late fees – keep DVDs as long as you want
  • Free shipping – there is no cost except your monthly membership
  • Fast turn around – You can set up a list of what you want so that your next DVD is shipped as soon as your first one is received, and distribution centers throughout the country mean that there’s one near you.  If the first one on your list isn’t available, they’ll automatically move down the list so you’re not stuck waiting.
  • Various plans – several choices to fit your budget and needs.
  • Personalized recommendations – based on movies that you enjoyed in the past.  We have found that it’s pretty “smart.”  Many of our favorites show up on the list.
  • Free trial – enjoy full benefits for 2 weeks to see if Netflix is right for you.

Their website is very easy to use, making it very easy to get the movies you want, either on DVD or as instant downloads.  There are several plans available starting at $4.99, but we think the $8.99/month is the best deal for our family: 1 DVD out at a time (4-5/month if we watch and return them promptly, but we don’t), plus unlimited downloads.

So how does this save money?  $8.99/month is about the cost of 2 rentals from B’Buster, or less than the cost of one rental and a trip to town to return it.  If you rent from RedBox occasionally like we used to, you know that one or two movies can easily add up if you forget to take them back right away – or if you have make a special trip to return them, because they’re racking up daily charges.

Oh, and did I mention the affiliate program?  Sign up for a free trial, and we get $.   That’s another thing I like about Netflix.  Very cool.


Stuff you should see.  Or at least, I think you should see it.

  • The Widow’s Might, which won the $101,000 prize at the SAI Film Festival, will be playing on the big screen April 13-18!  This is an extremely well-done movie, a musical that will appeal even to those who don’t normally care for musicals.  It’s got humor, snappy dialog, a great plot, good production quality…in short, this is the sort of film that Christians should be making.  See if it’s playing in your area.  If not, at least download the soundtrack from  You’ll love it!
  • The Genevan Psalter is available online.  Many of the songs have lyrics and music uploaded, usually more than one version, in both midi and mp3 formats, often with vocals.  In short, this website is a massive work and an important reference.  Bookmark it, and use it.
  • Not to toot my own horn, but Feelin’ Feminine recently posted an interview of li’l ole me.  It only seems right to link to it since they have been kindly sending traffic our way as well.  I enjoyed answering the thoughtful questions.  Read it if you like.  🙂
  • My friend made a solar oven and actually cooked brownies in it! Now I’m interested.  Her design is like this, but I like the looks of this one too.  Maybe 1 or 2 of each for our family?

We eat cloth eggs

That statement might warrant some explanation.

Back at the beginning of February, we switched to cloth diapers.  It only made sense to switch to cloth wipes as well.  We have gradually begun to do other “crunchy” things as well: washing our hair with baking soda/vinegar, using baking soda/cornstarch/tea trea oil for homemade deoderant, making our own laundry soap, growing a garden, line drying all of our clothes.  But it all started with cloth diapers.

And hence a new definition of “cloth” was born in our house:

cloth – (adj.) 1. organic, natural or unprocessed; 2. old-fashioned; 3. re-usable or non-consumable; 4. homemade in origin

Some changes were met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception.  Children were heard to wail, “Next thing you know, we’ll be eating cloth food!”

And so, we now eat cloth eggs.  We noticed a neighbor’s sign for fresh eggs at the bargain price of $1.25/dozen, and jumped on the opportunity!  Unfortunately they only have 6 laying hens, so they can hardly provide for all of our egg needs, but we’re enjoying whatever they can spare while we make plans for a coop and flock to provide all the cloth eggs we can eat.  I suppose the coop will be cloth as well, since we’re building it ourselves.  And now that I think of it, we live in a cloth house.

We are also looking forward to cloth vegetables from our garden, though I’m suddenly rather excited about starting some bean & alfalfa sprouts, perhaps since our salad greens are languishing sadly in the heat already.  I think this qualifies as cloth food, though the children remember Grandma B’s sprouts fondly.  We’re making homemade bread rather frequently these days, though we’re sadly neglecting our whole grain wheat and grinder.  I think even white bread, when homemade, qualifies as cloth bread.  At the moment, I’m making my first batch of English muffins in nearly 20 years.

It’s not just food, though.   We have greatly reduced our use of paper plates, relying more heavily upon our cloth plates.  We also use cloth napkins – really!

And Kaitlyn has become quite adept at sewing, providing her younger sisters with cloth clothes.

What’s cloth in your house?

See? Sickness *can* be fun & games

Let’s play a game.  A friend of mine played the same game on her blog yesterday.  Wait!  Don’t click yet, because her readers already guessed.

Can you name the disease?  Symptoms can vary, but here’s what our primary sufferer was displaying over the weekend:

  • headache
  • achiness & general malaise
  • mild fever?

Those symptoms passed after a day or two, and we thought she was better.  But – alas! – today she woke up with:

  • puffy face and hands
  • itch all over
  • upon closer inspection, we think she has a very mild mottled rash over much of her body – like the mottling you see when somebody is cold.

Clue: this disease has 2 common names.  One name describes a symptom usually displayed by young children, but not present in our sufferer.

Quite honestly, I thought all of our children had already had this disease when they were younger, but since typically it’s a one-and-out I must be wrong.  Now I’m wondering: how many other times am I wrong?  Will it sweep through the household?  Is it already?

14’s for Kaitlyn

Today is Kaitlyn’s birthday, so as usual we’re going to do a post for her.  On a slightly less usual note, we came up with a new sort of birthday post.  We’re going to work together on several lists for her, each with 14 items.kait1

Things Kaitlyn Likes

  1. drawing
  2. holding her tarantula
  3. sewing
  4. stress
  5. reading Boxcar Children to little ones
  6. fluffy pillows
  7. the color green
  8. silky stuff
  9. chocolate
  10. bottled water
  11. anything sweet
  12. brain-bending computer games
  13. Tim Hawkins
  14. puzzleskbday

Nicknames/Alter Egos for Kaitlyn

  1. Kittykait
  2. Mary Poppins
  3. Kaily-shaley
  4. Tay-tay
  5. Kay-kay
  6. Katie-kate
  7. Tatelyn
  8. Stress Monkey
  9. Charles
  10. Zorro
  11. Control freak
  12. Were-N___ (inside joke.  Don’t ask , and if you know don’t tell. That means you, yeah, you. You know who you are.)
  13. Electra
  14. Neatnik

Things We Love About Kaitlynkbday5

  1. She’s a hard worker
  2. She helps without being asked
  3. She likes to read to little ones
  4. She’s a nice babysitter
  5. Her cakes
  6. She’s nice to Rachael
  7. Her taste in clothes
  8. She’s thin & beautiful (inside joke, again.  but she is!)
  9. She’s our sister
  10. her sense of humorkbday2
  11. when she dresses up as a Jedi, or as Queen Amidala
  12. when she lets us post silly pictures of her to facebook
  13. when she consents to be in silly movies and plays
  14. she looks just like Mom

Things Kaitlyn is good at

  1. cooking
  2. puzzles
  3. sewing
  4. graphic design
  5. manipulating redirecting Lindsey  🙂kbday6
  6. drawing
  7. multi-tasking – her sisters say she can yell and clean at the same time
  8. photography
  9. Facebook
  10. singing
  11. decorating cakes
  12. flips on the trampoline
  13. borrowing clothes
  14. math

Things that Kaitlyn Hates

  1. tomatoes
  2. dirty dishes
  3. dirty rooms
  4. people who won’t do what she says
  5. people who hate praying mantids
  6. tangled hair
  7. a drawing without green in it somewhere
  8. ugly blog layouts
  9. ugly blog headers
  10. being called Charles
  11. when people throw things on her bed
  12. being tickled
  13. when Deanna posts silly pictures of her to the internet
  14. games she can’t figure out