Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Refine Me

A friend sent this to me for encouragement today and I wanted to share it also. Thank you to my friend that sent it to me. Your email means more to me than you could imagine.


'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' Malachi 3:3

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God .

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it.'

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.


and it ended with...

Thank you God, for teaching me to laugh again...but please Lord, don't ever let me forget that I cried.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Storytime brought to you by Aleeyah

Title: The Eyeless Aleeyah Turned Bear
Storyteller: Aleeyah
Videographer: Mom

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh, the sweet taste of phosphates...

The other day, a friend wrote a post about her recent experience with making laundry soap. They are adopting from Ethiopia (insert the awwwing noise that people make when they have just heard that someone's having a baby) and have been looking at ways to "save a little here and there".

It got me to thinking about a book that I have sitting on my kitchen counter-always. It's called "Green up your Cleanup" (The Green House) by Jill Potvin Schoff.

I've read through it even though I think it's more suppose to be like a cookbook--a book you reference, but not necessarily sit down and read it. It does have a lot of great information though just as you would find in a cookbook. It has recipes on cleaning supplies and how to store them, alternate cleaning solutions from your normal hazard cleaning ways, and lots of information as to why you ought to avoid certain chemicals from your home.

Greening up is something that came along my way when I decided to get a parrot.

His name was Pickles. No, we don't still have him for a few reasons, but I'll save that for another day...okay, well if you for some reason desire to know-shoot me an email. BTW-I won't be waiting for that email. Moving on....

So around parrots or any other bird, it is un-advisable for you to use any kind of cleaning chemical, air fresheners, candles, or teflon pans if you wish to be able to keep your sweet, little chirping (or high-pitched, ear piercing, put cotton in your ears squawking sound that Pickles made) pet around. As even a small amount of exposure to any of these things can cause immediate death. So as a new parrot owner that spent way more on the bird and necessities than any of her full blood dogs, I didn't want to accidentally kill it.

Then (being the sharp one that I am) got to thinking, IF these "harmless" chemicals were really that harmful to a small creature, I wonder what it does to our bodies over a period of 100 (I'm being hopeful) years of lifelong exposure. Surely it couldn't be that innocent.

A few reasons why you may look into possibly going greener even if you do it in stages:

First and foremost, "Green up your Cleanup" tells us that "...there is almost no government regulations of the chemicals used in cleaning products in the United States." Think about that for a moment. The companies are allowed to do as they wish when it comes to chemicals that we expose ourselves to daily and are even able to keep those recipes as confidential.

The book also states:

"A study by the Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of 10 American babies born in 2004 and found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in each baby's blood."

"Phosphates are banned from most cleaning products, but automatic dishwashing detergents have an exemption and can still contain up to 20 percent phosphates. Phosphates that end up in our waterways cause algae blooms that deplete oxygen and kill off fish." (our DISHwashing soap. Dishes. Those things we EAT off of!)

"The EPA reports that levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels."

Okay, so those are the more personal reasons. There are MANY environmental reasons.

Are you feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

Yeah, me neither (as I can smell the sweet smell of fabric softener lingering on my shirt. Mmmmmm....fabric softener)

SO what do we do from here? Well, personally, I think it's time for a change. It's time to try out the greener, healthier possibilities. I've had the book. I've made a few changes here and there, but I definitely think it's going to be cheaper and easier than what I'm anticipating. Probably. Maybe. I'll let you know. ;)

If you are up to the challenge, get the book and some basic supplies to get started. The must have's.

Here is what you are looking for:

Liquid soap -a mild liquid soap (something like Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap). She tells us that a little goes a long ways and a lot of the recipes have this included.

Borax located in the laundry section at the store

Baking soda

Washing soda

White distilled vinegar

Lemon juice -"fresh squeezed is the best, but bottled can be used in a pinch"

Powdered oxygen bleach

Club soda

Citric acid -can be found online or in places that sell canning supplies (also called sour salt)

Essential oils
-for scenting your cleaners. "Look for ones that say 100% pure"

Alright green team. Put your hands in. Goooooooooo GREEN!

(too cheesy? yeeaahhh..probably!)

Surprise!!! It's NOT your birthday!!!

We were basically headed out the door around Chris' birthday in September. His birthday is on the 9th and we were leaving for Oklahoma on the 10th and Alaska on the 11th. His day got totally pushed aside for our vacation. He was fine with it, but I hated at least not giving him a birthday cake and celebrating his day. I had told him I'd make it up to him.

It had crossed my mind a few times that we didn't get a chance to do anything for it and finally when it hit me again on October 10th, Aleeyah and I devised a plan to have a birthday party for a surprise. It was one of the rare times Chris had to work on a Saturday. He had said he was hoping to be home by 2pm. That gave us time to go to the store, decorate, and make cupcakes (with his favorite frosting). We rushed around the house trying to quickly put together a birthday party on a budget.

Aleeyah worked on the banner...

and helped me with the cupcakes...

and balloons...

We decorated the table...

And the kitchen area...

Everyone was in attendance...

But quickly got tired of waiting so they took a seat at the table...

Then we waited and waited and waited. We took a nap. Finally at 8:00pm, Dad was finally on his way home!

And he was super surprised when he got home!

Who wouldn't be if you were given a surprise party a MONTH after your birthday! Happy 31 babe (yet another month later! haha!)

Now Aleeyah has been throwing us random surprise parties here and there on a whim! Drawing banners and cards. Apparently, she likes the idea of surprise parties!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy {meow}lloween

This year Aleeyah decided she wanted to be a cat for Halloween. Her costume was fun to put together and she was SO excited to see that I added paws to her shirt! I figured it would be cold that night and paws would be a good way to keep her hands warm. I already had everything at the house to make them so it was a very cheap and quick add on. I think this years costume was one of the cheapest Halloween costumes I've made.

Tulle and ribbon for tutu--$5
Black shirt from Target--$4
Black tights--$3
Headband and feathers for ears--$5

Total of $21

Now her make-up on the other hand. I'm not sure how much it cost because I had bought some things that I didn't really need and didn't buy some stuff until last minute that I did need. Thankfully, I had 2 practice runs to do it before doing it on Halloween night. The first time was a flop (due to using the wrong stuff) and then second time turned out good for Chris' work festivities (after I picked up the other things I needed).

As I mentioned, we went up to Chris' work the day before Halloween to go trick or treating. There weren't many kids, but we had a good time anyway. Several of the teams had decorated their areas and some even dressed up themselves. Oddly, one of the areas was decorated in Christmas stuff. I'm not sure what that was all about, but they DID do a good job!

Then on Saturday we did a bunch of running around during the day and then made it home just in time to get dressed back up again, face painted, some pictures taken, and Skype with family in Oklahoma before we headed out the door for trick-or-treating. I love getting to take Aleeyah trick-or-treating. There were very few kids out around us when we went. I'm not sure if parents are mostly finding other things to do as fears creep up. Myself, I'd rather take Aleeyah trick-or-treating and replace her candy with candy I purchased before I ever said no to door-to-door knocking. It brings back such fun memories and how often out of the year do you get to go door-to-door, greeting people each time and then getting candy?

We had a wonderful time and the weather wasn't too cold or RAINING!!! Seems like it always rains on Halloween.

Aleeyah told us when her bucket was 2/3 of the way full that she was done trick-or-treating and that she had plenty of candy in her basket. So she asked if I could carry the bucket home and then promptly asked dad for a ride home.

September Fall Photoshoot

Most of you have probably already saw the pics of Aleeyah's Fall photoshoot, but I wanted to post them here for those of you that aren't on Facebook and haven't noticed the link to them pics on my side bar. They were taken at the end of September in a little town park not too far from us. Of course, I had to add a few silly ones we got along the way!

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