Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Summer tastes like crocodiles,"

said a child in my care today. So we wrote some poems.

by a 4 year old girl

Summer is fun to me.
Summer smells like pickles.
Summer feels like pickles.
Summer sounds like pickles.
Summer looks like pickles.
I like pickles.
Blue and pink and purple pickles!
But not pickle ice cream.
Pickles only.
Pickles, pickles, pickles!

By a 4 year old girl

Summer smells like candy canes.
It tastes like chocolate.
It sounds like an airplane.
It looks like a castle.
It feels like hot wind.
Summertime feels like a sunburn.
I do like summertime.
And it feels like I have a sunburn.
And my body peels.

by a 3 year old girl

Summer feels like soccer camp.
It smells like jerseys.
It tastes like Gatorade.
It looks like cotton candy.
It smells like Strawberry Short Cake.
I only go to soccer camp at summertime.

by the alpha 4 year old boy in our class

I get to go swimming so much.
Hot hot like a hot hot oven
in the hot hot sun
with hot hot fire.
Summer smells like blooming flowers.
It looks like pink and red and purple flowers.
It sounds like hooooooooo.
It tastes like nectar of flowers.
And I get to go swimming!

by a 3 year old girl

I love when I go in my swimming pool,
and I love when I water my flowers,
and I love when my dad does that too.
I love when he waters the grass.

by a 3 year old boy who has spoken English for a short time.

Summertime makes the sun come out.
It sounds like the sun coming out.
It tastes like clouds going bye bye.
It looks like raining sometimes.
It smells like no fog.
It feels of not raining and the sun come out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some say the world will end in fire

It sure is crazy blistering world-endingly hot around here. Mint from my garden, ice, and watercolor-blue water. Trying to keep cool at school.
Good luck.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Convenience Cleaning

I know many of you are sufficiently virtuous to be immune to the Clorox wipe/Swiffer phenomenon, while others of you are insufficiency neurotic to be upset by it. Many of you, however, are like me: you love this stuff, but can't really get behind it. I go through periods of green kitchen obsession during which I just can't ignore the fact that they are toxic, non-biodegradable, gratuitously disposable, and just really excessive. Method does have a biodegradable version, but they're not as effective as they could be, and they're still, you know, a disposable product where none is needed.

I found many, many complex directions online for making your own disposable wipes. I finally decided, however, that mine needn't actually be disposable. I do like having something at the ready, no spray bottle necessary, pre-moistened and all. But I discovered that my scrap basket could furnish some delightful little cleansing cloths, trimmed with pinking shears to keep the fray down. I wet them with all purpose spray and keep them in a jar. I pull one out each morning, wipe down the bathroom, and toss it in the hamper. Or at least I do that during the weeks when I'm actually following my cleaning regime.
You can do the same general kind of thing with your Swiffer, using the Swiffer cloths as a pattern. Cut several rectangles from microfiber or terrycloth and store them wet in a jar, or just spritz the floor with all purpose spray as you run over it. Method also has its Omop, which is basically a swiffer but with a microfiber pad that velcros on and that you can rinse out in the sink and eventually throw in the washer.

And I get to make it all smell like peppermint with a little essential oil.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Loose on the Follow Through

It's the middle of July... So much for May being housekeeping month. My attitude toward cleaning was reflected in this project of mine; I have the best of intentions, but when I lose interest, I give it up altogether.

But I cleaned the kitchen today, and have had a renewal of enthusiasm; I'm back to it and would like to discuss cleaning products with you all. I'm on a constant search for the perfect products. My qualifications are as follows:

1. I'm not happy if I can't eat all the cleaning products in the house. I'm a total toxiphobe. It's really important to me that if the cats lick out the toilet after I'm done cleaning it, they won't foam at the mouth and die.

2. This happily corresponds with general greenness. I'd like my products to be low impact on the environment as well.

3. I can't smell much, but for some reason I can smell many cleansing products. So, since I'm having an olfactory experience, I want it to be positive.

4. It'd also be nice if they were effective.

I keep jars of scented baking soda in each quadrant of the house and use it for cleaning almost everything, from the dishwasher to the rugs to my hair. I'm pretty convinced all one really needs for cleaning is baking soda and a good all-purpose spray, with vinegar for serious disinfecting.

I would really like to make an all-purpose cleanser myself. That way I really know what's in it, can control the scent, and put it in a pretty container. Plus it's so empowering to permanently cross something off the "Stuff We Buy at Target" list. I have plenty of recipes, but honestly I have a real problem with the scent of vinegar. I'm in search of the perfect non-vinegar based all-purpose spray recipe, so if any of you have one, let me know. In the meantime, the photo above is of some scented vinegars curing...

And I'm still buying my spray at the store. I've done a lot of research on Method and Mrs. Meyers. They seem a little too good to be true, but everything I've found suggests they're actually quite environmentally sound and safe. And they sure do smell good. They produce a lot of unnecessary products with quite a bit of packaging, but if you are going to buy a counter-cleansing wipe, Method's are a lot sounder than Clorox's.

So please, dear friends, I know many of you are sounder cleaners than I. Anybody have the secret key to the perfect all-purpose spray?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baby Gifties

My sweet sister-in-law, Emily, lives on a farm in rural Alabama with horses, pigs, goats, chickens, moonshine, and antique tractors; the whole nine yards. And she's busy brewing a baby boy, to be born before fall. She pointed out some fabrics she liked a few months back when we were all visiting Spokane, and I snapped them up and just completed a little layette for nephew-to-be.
These onesies were very simple and satisfying; I cut the images out of the fabric Emily chose, glued them down with fabric glue to prevent excessive fraying, and when they dried I machine-sewed them for strength. I pick up second-hand onesies for a dollar at resale stores around here for this purpose, and made them in all different sizes, with different farm animals.
I used the same fabric for this, my favorite of these projects. It's a changing pad to stow in the diaper bag. Unrolled it looks like this:It's soft, cushy, waterproof, and rolls up little. I'm so pleased with the design!

These flannel receiving blankets edged with quilting cotton are one of my favorite easy baby gifts. In this case, it's three different John Deere prints. I actually keep yards and yards of flannel on hand to make these with. I buy five or ten yards whenever I end up with a coupon for a single cut.
And finally, I made three sweet little flannel burp cloths and a waterproof pouch to keep them in. I bought the waterproof fabric on etsy to line the changing pad with, and it's great. Very satisfyingly orange, and just seems like twill on the outside. I don't know what it's made out of. It was a cut somebody had lying around and decided to sell.

I'm pleased with these collection of gifts, and can't wait to try out variations. So gentle readers: have babies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back, With a Mustache

Yes, it's been a very long time. I've been traveling most recently, but really it's not excuse. I do mean to return to blogging. I've been encouraged by all you dear friends who have contacted me over email; I had no idea my readership was bigger than the five people who comment. I'm excited to find that it is.

The mustaches: totally ripped off from etsy. But awesome. I made them out of reinforced felt and glued popsicle sticks onto them. Real popsicle sticks. I made Scott eat a bunch of popsicles. They were a gift for Josh for his birthday. He does have a mustache of his own, mind you, but it seemed like options would be nice.

Here's everyone looking a bit dodgy.

And Mary looking entirely sinister. It's amazing what the right facial hair will do.

I intend to make some more of these for the children on my Christmas list. Excellent stocking stuffers!