Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chili does the dishes

She got up there all by herself, the little monkey!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bread Recipe?

I am currently looking for a good bread machine recipe. I am looking for something simple with few ingredients. I would prefer it to be whole wheat or at least half whole wheat. I could look on the internet, but I'd rather get one that somebody else has already tried. Anybody?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Chili has found her belly button (umbligo in Spanish), and she thinks it is soooo cool. She also thinks finding Mami's and Papi's umbligos is fun, and it is quite the game at our house. If Mami says "Umbligo!" she will pull up her own shirt and point to her belly button. But I have to be careful with this game, or she will pull up my shirt when I am not expecting it!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blowing Kisses

I think she saw us do it once or twice. But I was so surprised to see her do it! How many times did I have to sign "more" to her before she actually did it. Now she blows kisses out of the blue to whoever she wants to. What a friendly and caring girl she is! Mi nena preciosa!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chili gets buff

Here's some pictures of me doing exercise. After trying the big weights, Mami found me some that were just my size.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Homemade Deodorant

I read the other day from One Green Generation (check it out on my sidebar) that you can use a mix of baking soda and corn starch as a deodorant. I was interested to see if it worked. Some people use straight baking soda and other people find that irritates their skin. She used one part soda to 6 parts starch. I couldn't remember what she made, so I did 1 part soda to 3 parts starch. I have been trying it for about a week now, and I have found it actually works just as well as the store-bought for me. Today I put it on right after shaving and found it irritated my skin a little, but that was the only day it did. Maybe I didn't stir that part well enough. But overall, I was impressed. We will have to see how it works in the summer...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Salad Dressing

I needed salad dressing tonight, so I decided to make one myself. I roasted one red pepper and one clove of garlic. I put them in the blender with a splash of vinegar and olive oil. Then I blended and added salt to taste. It was delicious!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Movie Review: The Girl in the Cafe

This movie is about a man and woman who meet in a cafe by chance. They form a friendship which turns romantic. It starts a little slow, and their conversation is horribly awkward. Eventually she goes with him on a business trip (he is a politician) and there she has a chance to break the norms and be a voice for the poor.

At the end of the movie there is a quote by Nelson Mandela, "Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be the great generation."

So, I have been thinking about the status quo. What is our status quo for life? To have a job, a spouse, a house, a car, to raise kids, etc, etc. How often do we just settle into the flow? We do what everyone else is doing, never questioning if we should be doing something different. We are just living what is normal (well, if you call the experience of the minority in this world normal). But, what if normal is messed up? Ignoring poverty, ignoring our planet to achieve our goals...We are living "normal" when we could be living to transform and restore the world around us.

Tonight I am thinking about my footprint on this Earth. I am thinking about my impact on the planet - on it's environment and it's people. Some of what I am and do is "normal" and some of me is looking for a better way. I don't want to ignore poverty or the planet to meet my goals. I want to live a life that will transform and restore. What about you? Will you settle for "normal"? Or will you break the norms and look for a better way?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Chili is playing peek-a-boo. It is so fun to watch! I had hoped to get it on camara and post a pic, but everytime I try she runs away, which is also quite funny, but it's not helping me get a picture. We have always played, but this is the first time she actually puts her hands up to her face spontaniously indicating that she wants to play.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Skin Deep

We all care about our family's health. Sometimes the products we are using for our skincare (shampoo, soap, makeup, sunscreen) can have ingredients that with long-term use can adversely affect our health. We all have products we are accostumed to using. But how can we know what is in them? Ingredient lists are usually hard to understand. One rule of thumb I use is: If I can't pronounce it, I probably shouldn't be using it. Another thing you can do is use the Skin Deep database to search for a specific product you use. It will tell you which ingredients in that product are harmful and why, which might possibly be harmful, and which haven't been studied. Another tool it has is a rating system. So, if you want to know which lotions have the best ratings, you can check out a list. You can also see what ratings the products you are using have. It's or just google Skin Deep.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lamb "Meatballs"

Dinner last night included lamb "meatballs", asparagus, and garlic bread. I thought it was soooo good. For the meatballs I used a pound of ground lamb, green onions, garlic, feta, and some basil and salt too. I cooked them in the oven for 30 minutes on 350. I am loving trying some new recipes for dinner. Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Finally Chili is signing something. I have been using a few signs with her regularly for quite a while now (milk, more, water, food, help) but she had never used one. Just when I had given up hope...she decides to sign "more." I think to her it means "food," but at least she is communicating, which was the goal of me introducing a few signs in the first place. She is using it often and eating more than ever!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today's post is called "Cuesta." I have been thinking about this topic ever since La Gringa posted on her blog ( on Dec. 15, 2008 about customs and culture. She was talking about culture and customs in Honduras, and how a country's customs aren't always beneficial. She talked about how some people resist change because as they say "Cuesta," which in Spanish (in this context)means it costs me something, that it takes a certain amount of effort or time to do things different.

Well, I have been thinking about that phrase in reference to habits and ways of thinking in the United States. Our current way of living in this country is harming the planet we live on. It is so important for us all to make some changes to preserve and care for what we have. But the majority of us in this country aren't making very many changes...why? I think first of all, many people aren't thinking about the consequences of their lifestyle, they are just living in the now. Also, I think we have become so accustomed to doing what we like, or what's convenient.

Time for a few examples. How many times have you watched a commercial, and thought, "Wow, that product would make my life easier!" or "That's a cool, new product. I should buy that." How often do you think, "Do I need this?" or "I wonder what the impact of using that will have on the environment." Another example is that of using cloth diapers. I think some people don't use them because they think it's going to be a hassle to have to wash them. Or what about using cloth napkins, or real towels instead of paper towels. We go for what's convenient instead of doing that extra load of laundry. Recycling is another example. I know people who say they are not going to take the extra effort unless the city is going to pay them.

Well, I would like to present a new way of looking at this. "Cuesta!" Yes, living in a more sustainable way does cost us something...more time, effort, etc. But maybe that's because it's worth something. Because it has value. Doesn't everything good cost something? Also, doesn't not doing anything cost us MORE? What will the consequences of our lifestyle be? What consequences will the pollution have on our health? Where will all that trash go? What will happen to the world's resources if we keep consuming as we are? Doesn't our health and the living conditions of our children and their children have a value?

Maybe instead of asking ourselves "What will make my life easier?" we should ask "What is the right thing to do?"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Veggies on Naan

In a search to find some new and yummy for dinner, I experimented with a new recipe. This one doesn't really resemble the one I got the idea from. I am always changing recipes, leaving out some ingredients, adding others I like more. Basically, I just used a zuchini, an eggplant, and a red pepper, chopped, which I fried up in some garlic and olive oil. We ate it on whole wheat naan with cream, feta, and some roasted red peppers(from a jar this time, but at least they were organic). Yum! My friend pointed out to me the other day that it didn't have any meat, so next time I think I will add some chicken to the mix. I'm glad to find a new healthy recipe to add to my list.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Chili surprised me a few weeks ago when she pointed to a little chick and said "bebe." Since then, everything is a "bebe." Her stuffed dog and bear are bebes, her doll, pictures of people and kids, the nutcracker at the post office. If she wants something she reaches for it and says bebe. So with "dada" that makes two words now. Way to go, Chili!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Green Cleaners

All Purpose Spray
Spray 1: Mix 2 1/2 tsp borax, dab of liquid soap, and 2 cups hot water. Mix and shake in a spray bottle for use on counters, etc.
*Add a couple drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil. It will add a nice fragrance to your mix, and adds the benefit of being a natural disinfectant/fungicide. Warning: a little goes a long way, just put a few drops (like 1-5?).
Mine is in a spray bottle under my sink for easy cleaning anytime. This spray will leave you cents ($) and scents all around your house. Don't using it just make sense?
Spray 2: Mix 2 cups water with 1/8 cup white vinegar

Furniture Polish
Shake 1/2 tsp olive oil (or jojoba oil) in a jar with 1/4 c fresh lemon juice (or vinegar). You can add more oil if the wood is dry.

Window Spray
Mix 1/2 tsp liquid detergent, 3T white vinegar, and 2 c water

Mold spray
Pour undiluted white vinegar into spray bottle and spray on moldy area, do not rinse

Other tips:
*Write the recipe on the bottle with permanent marker so you don't have to look it up every time.
*These recipes may be non-toxic(don't have toxic chemicals), but shouldn't be ingested. Keep away from pets or children.

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

Today I want to post about where I am on my path to becoming a greener me. Here's my list:

- CFL's - Have you replaced your lights yet?
-Recycling - I am recycling as much as the city will let me. Hopefully, they'll continue to add more to the list of what is accepted.
- Buy Used - I try to buy second-hand stuff instead of new.
- Don't Buy - Even better than buying used is not buying at all. I always try to ask myself befrore I buy something, "Do I REALLY need this?"
- Cloth Bags - Use cloth bags when you buy.
- Cloth diapers - Really soooo easy. I really don't understand why more people don't use them. It's a rather small investment (of money and time) and it's soooooo much better for the environment and baby's bum.
- Buy organic - As much as possible I buy organic foods, though I don't buy organic meats(I get all-natural). This is not only better for your family (less chemicals), but it invests in a system that is protecting the environment.
- Buy local - As much as I can, I buy from local farmers. I walk to the Farmers' Market in the warmer months. I have bought meat locally as well, but you really need a big freezer to do this, and for now, we do not.
- Reusable products - No more paper plates at our house. To eat we use only glass plates, cups, and our silverware. It's not hard to start the dishwasher a little more often.
- Cloth napkins - Yes, they are stained, but that's because we use them! I would like to get some darker colored ones too because I don't usually use bleach. Maybe I'll find some this summer at a garage sale.
- Towels - I do have one roll of paper towels stashed away, but I can't remember the last time we used one.
- Green cleaners - I will have to post the recipes here. So much cheaper than store bought, and much better for the environment.
- Reusable water bottle and home water filter - No bottled water here. No plastic water bottles either (they leach chemicals that are not good for you).
- Low maintenence, chemical free lawn care - Ok, so I don't have much of a lawn, but even if I did, I would plan the space to make it a practical, usable space that doesn't need a lot of upkeep.
- Eco-friendly clothes detergent - We use Charlie's Soap.
- Think small - smaller house, smaller car, etc. We currently live in a small, probably 700-800sq. ft. place. It's a good way to conserve on utilities, and leave a smaller carbon-footprint.

Did I forget something? Probably. I'll just add it on later, I guess.

Though it's not easy being green, it's important. We might not see the damage we are doing yet, but all too soon we will, and I hope it's not too late! Is there something on this list you could try?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Living Better in 2009 - A List

So here is my list in progress of things I would like to try in 2009 to better our lives:

Ecological Goals:
1. Garden - I REALLY want a nice garden this year, but have you seen my backyard, I mean patio? After last year's failed attempt (the storm battered it to pieces, see pic), I think I will try to get involved in a community garden this summer. There's nothing better than fresh, local, organic produce that you planted!

2. Read a few books. Probably Food, Not Lawns, Intro to Permaculture, and Affluenza...This list is subject to change.

- I feel like I need some organization, so I have a new bulletin board that I will use to organize meals, cleaning, bills, to do list, etc.

Family Health
- Meal planning, at least a general idea of what I want to eat to help me when I shop, and add some creativity to meals around here. I'm sick of the same things, and if I plan, I'm sure we will eat healthier. We usually try to eat healthy, but if I don't plan, we just eat whatever, sometimes healthy, sometimes not.

- I need to practice more patience. I thought I was a pretty patient person, being a teacher and a wife(hee, hee), but having a daughter has required a whole new level of patience, and sometimes I find my frustration gets the best of me. Sometimes I take a deep breath, and another, and it's still not enough. Like the time I'm cleaning up a big diaper mess, only to find my daughter eating remains of a mango from the trash can (who knows what else it was touching, yuck!), then I try to get her interested in something else, so I can finish, only to find her eating yet something else from the trash! Ahhh, life with a toddler can be trying.

Those are my ideas on Living Better in 2009. What does your list look like?