Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
The time has come to plan out our very first garden!!  We've had plenty of container gardens in the past but this year we're taking advantage of our large yard and we're going to attempt a couple of raised garden beds!

Now some of you might give a tiny chuckle to our drawings and such but we're beginners... so don't expect too much!  We've already prepared journal in which we will write down all of the do's and don'ts that we learn this year to have a more successful garden in the Spring of 2013!  

The most important part about planning a garden in my opinion is planning what you are going to plant.  For our first garden we are basically creating a menu!  It will be a list of what we find ourselves eating on a daily basis and what foods we just can't seem to live without!  That way... if we are successful this year fresh vegetables won't go to waste just because we we're experimenting.  Our list contains what we love most which includes spinach,, different varieties of squash, garlic, onions, LOTS of tomatoes and LOTS of herbs!

So make sure if you're planning a vegetable garden for the first time... include items that you know you're going to eat... items you always go to the market for.  We're excited to see what will emerge and what will not... either way it's exciting and I can't wait to break ground!

Well... when you're the type of person who needs to make a real effort to schedule your days out so you stay organized and get things done... it makes it quite difficult to get back into the swing of things when you're thrown off that schedule for just a few days! 

The visit with my sister was wonderful and of course my mom is still hanging around for a couple of months which is awesome.  I have quite a few projects on my to do list but I'm happy to say that one of them can now be scratched off my list and my husband's honey-do list and that is hanging our clothesline!!!  I'm SOOOOO excited about this!!!  Being from the desert you would think that I would have experience drying my clothes outside but that would be a no and I can't wait to begin doing it this spring! 

I have a few reasons why I'm choosing to line dry this summer... It's going to save energy which means money, I can't stand static in my clothes and I choose not to use chemical dryer sheets to ward it off, It's going to get my son and I outdoors, and mainly... as silly as it may sound... I'm doing it for the fun of it!  For the beautiful nostalgic and vintage sentiment.  Hanging your clothes out to dry on a clothesline in more recent times has been associated with negativity and placed those who chose to do so in a certain socioeconomic class.  However go back just a few decades earlier than that and we are reminded of a simpler time where homemakers took great care of their belongings that were made of quality material made to last for generations. 

Yes it takes more time and effort... and in today's world of course it's easier to just throw the load into the dryer and rush on to the next order of business... but that's where I think some of the problems lie that we face today.  There's no attention to detail anymore... no before thoughts... only after thoughts.  Imagine the planning it took to prepare and wash laundry and then hang them out to dry.  One needed to be in tuned with their family and with themselves... needing to know exactly what was going on in each others lives, to make sure items were prepared and ready.  One needed to be in tune with Mother Earth... making themselves aware of what type of weather she would be bringing within the next week.  What a beautiful connection to have with your surroundings and I know I certainly want more of that connection within myself and within my home.  I couldn't imagine a more beautiful moment... being outside on a quiet sunny day with my son by my side... anxious to help by handing me clothespins one by one as I hang a load of laundry on the clothesline.  It hasn't even happened yet and it's a memory that will forever be in my heart. 

Remember... I'm never on the extreme side of anything and I'm not saying that I'll NEVER user my dryer this Spring and Summer.  I'm sure my husband will tell me at ten o'clock at night one night that he forgot that he needed some article of clothing for some function the next morning.  In fact that's exactly what I'm talking about... it will take a lot more awareness and communication to have what we need and I'll tell you what... I'm a BIG fan of awareness and communication.

So here's to hanging out with my son this season... it's gonna magickal!
"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.  Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home."

~Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725~
First off I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's weekend!  We had a great mini staycation and even though we stayed in town and it was only for one night I still have to work on getting back in the swing of things!!  Grandma is also in town for a while so our schedule always takes a bit of adjusting when she first arrives.  So tomorrow it's back to the grindstone!

This weekend we discovered my newest favorite thing!  First off let me 'splain... I love candles... and for a while now I have been trying to find more and more options for Soy candles as well as Beeswax candles.  They are natural and better in so many ways such as a cleaner and longer burn... etc.  I found some Beeswax candles and have actually ordered some but they are SO expensive and frankly I was not happy with how quickly they burned!  So I have been contemplating on ordering some Soy candles but just haven't gotten around to it.    On my birthday my husband took me to this cute little eclectic shop filled with books, jewelry, artwork, etc... and as we were looking around some candles caught my eye!  They were beautiful and very reasonably priced and I said to my husband... "Too bad they aren't soy".  Then we turned the little carousel they were displayed on and saw a sign stating that they were Palm Wax candles.  Palm Wax?  I had no clue... I had never heard of it, so I took the little description sheet that they had displayed and was OVERCOME with joy!

Palm wax candles from Aloha Bay are 100% natural unlike soy, which I was unaware of.  "Soy wax is most often a blend of waxes (soy, palm, & beeswax) that can contain as little as 25% soy oil. All soy wax is chemically distilled, with synthetic additives and mostly from GMO seed."  They are beautiful, burn MUCH longer and BRIGHTER and I am so excited to have found something of such quality for such a reasonable price.  Much cheaper than Beeswax candles.  They have more information than I could ever post here so please take a look at their website for more information and other products.  They seem to be a great company that care a great deal for our earth.
Hello my friends... I just wanted to let y'all know that I'll be taking a long weekend from blogging.  It's my birthday weekend and my mom and sister are in town and then my husband and I will be celebrating Valentine's with two days of fun activities!!! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a MAGICKAL Valentine's Day!
Monday night we had a minor scary experience but it led me to a resolution that I think will be better for my entire family.  My husband and I had just put our son down for the night and we were sitting on the couch talking and watching TV.  Well suddenly we both realized that we smell what we at first thought was a candle burning... so we got up and started looking and sniffing around.  When we walked into the kitchen it became much stronger and we realized it was the smell of burning plastic that we were smelling.  Of course at this point I was getting scared and we were both slightly on panic mode trying to find the source of what we knew was something burning.  We're standing in the middle of the kitchen looking around so confused as to where it was coming from when my husband noticed smoke coming from the dishwasher!  I had just started it before we put our son down for bed.  So we very carefully opened the dishwasher and oh my gosh... horrific fumes and smoke bellowed out and we noticed that a plastic spatula had fallen to the bottom of the dishwasher and melted onto the heating element. 

We were able to get things cleaned up but I had a horrible headache and felt nauseous from inhaling what I could only imagine were toxic fumes from that melted plastic spatula.  I was scared that our son was inhaling the fumes but we checked all the bedrooms and they all had fresh air in them thank goodness.  But the toxicity of those fumes were still freaking me out... although it was freezing we opened all windows and doors and turned on the fan.  As we were trying to air out the house it dawned on me that even though I have made a point to make sure my son's dishes and utensils were all free from toxic chemicals... it was obvious from this little experience that my son's dishes is where I had stopped.  Obviously this spatula that I had and used all the time was FAR from being free of toxins.  I took a look around and noticed immediately the plastic cooking utensils I had sitting around the kitchen and I took them all and put them in the recycling bin.

This all lead to a research adventure of mine that took place most of yesterday... But I am so happy I did because I now know what the safe options are and our kitchen is slowly but surely going to get a plastic free makeover.  Now don't get me wrong... everything that I currently have for our son is BPA free which was a great start but I've read that there are still risks in the use of even BPA free plastic so I feel better just not using plastic at all... especially now that I've found some awesome alternatives that I will list below.  Don't get me wrong... BPA free plastic will probably be used where I have no control or other options such as a high chair tray... I looked at the bottom of my son's tray and it had an arrow pointing to that awful #7 which basically says that it is made of a combination of different plastics and ingredients and is more than likely NOT BPA free BUT it is possible that it is, so you have to search for the "BPA Free" label. Lucky #5 is what I was hoping for which is polypropylene and is BPA free.  I sent an email to First Years, the maker of the high chair we have, asking if the tray is in fact BPA free since it's possible.  Still waiting for a reply.  For now... we have stopped using his tray and we are using his high chair as a booster seat instead.  And yay!  I just ran over to my newly organized bathroom and looked at the bottom of those plastic bins and they are the lovely #5!! Whoo!!!

After all my research there are actually several things that will be replaced in our kitchen including our ceramic dishes and bakeware, all Teflon/Non Stick pots and pans, and of course plastic.  Some great alternatives that I discovered are silicone, an inert material that does not react with food and does not toxins... Sengware Tableware, 100% lead and cadmium free, stainless steel, cast iron, bamboo and of course glass.  This transition will not be immediate because frankly it's not affordable for us to do a complete overhaul but in the meantime I feel good about having gotten rid of the plastic material in our kitchen and I have ordered silicone tableware for our son which I feel is the biggest priority.  If you're inspired to give your kitchen a safer makeover remember that the length at which you choose to make changes are a personal decision.  Say you are totally comfortable with the idea of having BPA free plastics, that is GREAT, just take it maybe one step further by not putting them in the dishwasher or microwave which can further cause the plastic to leach toxic chemicals. 

Below is a list of resources that I found and some FABULOUS alternatives to consider... As soon as I get our son's silicone tableware I'll let you know how we like it!  Remember... do your research!  Make personal but educated decisions on how best to protect your family. 

Dangers of Teflon
All About Plastic
Dangers of Melamine (the very colorful hard plastic dishes usually made for children)

Is Silicone Safe?
Sengware (Lead and cadmium free ceramic tableware)
Le Creuset
Lunch Bots (Stainless steel tableware for children)
Kinder-Ville (Silicone tableware for children)
Well I have completely fallen in love and have been inspired by a blog I found called iheartorganizing.  Now I have a long way to go before getting to her level of organization but she's inspired me to start somewhere!  I have always dreamed of being organized with a place for everything and everything in it's place.  I always thought I needed money to do this but the other day I was at the Dollar Store and ran across these awesome bins and the first thing that crossed my mind was this organizing blog!  I bought six, which only came six dollars and change... and I decided to start small.  Our bathroom closet.  It was a mess... just all of our stuff thrown randomly on the shelves... towels, etc.  I truly feel this is my first step towards becoming the organized household I've always dreamed of... now that I know I have resources such as the Dollar Store and baskets from thrift stores!  I'm going to make a new category on my sidebar for Organization where you can follow my projects of organizing one section of our home at a time.  It'll motivate me and hopefully it'll inspire you!  So here is my first organization project completed! Please excuse the photos not being great... our camera is broken so I'll just be using my phone until we can afford to pay for a new camera in CASH and not on credit. 
Bathroom Closet: BEFORE...
Well this is embarrassing...
Bathroom Closet: AFTER
Not embarrassing... YAY!
So have y'all heard of it yet?  I'm sure you have... if not, "no poo" means no longer washing your hair with shampoo.  Yup I said it!  I'm giving shampoo and conditioner up!!  Now I'm not saying it's gonna work for me or that I'm giving it up forever but I''ve heard about it long enough and it's about time I try it.  I have no personal friends who have tried it yet and I've always had it in the back of my mind so here I go!

I could go into major detail about the "no poo" method but frankly, if I did, I'd be about the millionth blogger whose done so... therefore instead of just repeating what so many blogs have already said I'm going to refer you to what, in my opinion, is the simplest and best explanation I've seen yet at Simple Mom.  Not only does she give a great explanation of why to go "poo free", but she also gives an update of being "poo free" for TWO YEARS!!

But for those of you who just want the basics... here they are.  You basically stop using shampoo and conditioner and replace them with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Baking soda plus water for the wash and ACV plus water for the rinse.  Both are mixed at different ratios depending on your specific needs... i.e., Hair to dry?  Use less baking soda, more ACV or honey for your rinse.  Hair to oily?  Use less ACV or increase the amount of baking soda.  Personally I'm going to start out with what Simple Mom recommends which is one tablespoon of baking soda to eight ounces of water... same with the ACV. 

Today is my first day... well I guess technically I started last night because last night I showered and just rinsed my hair... No shampoo, no conditioner.  I hadn't washed my hair in a couple of days either so I wonder if that counts towards my transition time.  Oh yeah!  I forgot to tell you about the transition period.  Apparently you could have anywhere from a two week to a three month transition period for your hair to get used to being without shampoo stripping it of it's natural oils and for those natural oils to begin balancing themselves out.  I thought I'd do a little fun update on my "no poo" trial run by posting a one liner or so every day on the side bar and POSSIBLY a picture of what my hair is looking like.  I can't guarantee the picture... not sure I'm willing to get that personal yet... it all depends on how well my hair is "transitioning"!

So wish me luck!! I'm kinda excited at the prospect of never having to buy shampoo again!
"If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from ever other living creature."
~Bruce Barton