July 24, 2008

Vinegar Cleaner

If you haven't already, give good old vinegar and water a try for a household cleaner. I waited a long while before mixing up a batch because I couldn't believe it would work as well as chemical cleaners. Recently, I decided to give it a whirl.

I mixed half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle, added a few drops each of tea tree, lavender and peppermint essential oils, and mixed in a couple of drops of liquid castile soap. It works great on greasy stoves, kitchen counter tops and bathrooms. And it's inexpensive!

Have you tried a natural cleaner that works particularly well? Let us know!

Five Steps to Make Your House Healthier

Short post about a longer article on CNN.com: "Make your home healthier in five easy steps". The article outlines easy ways to reduce pollutants in your home in the kitchen, family room, bedrooms, playroom, and backyard.

July 17, 2008

Question: Is your home a Catholic home?

In her entry "A Blueprint for Your Domestic Church", Catholic Mom blogger Denise Hunnell provides a checklist to answer the question "Is your home a Catholic home?" I've answered below:

Are morning and night prayers a daily occurrence in your home? Yes to both
Do you say grace before and thanks to God after meals? Before meals
Do you say a family Rosary every night? No, but I do say one each morning while driving to work
Do you carry a Rosary at all times? Yes
Do you wear a religious medal or a scapular? Up until a month ago, I wore a rosary bracelet. I need to get it repaired.
Do you read and discuss the Bible often? Sometimes. It goes in cycles.
Is your home dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? No; we need to do this
Is there a crucifix hanging in a prominent place? One in each bedroom
Do you ask God’s help in the solution of family problems? Yes
Do you have a sick-call set for Communion or Anointing of the Sick? No
Do you attend church as a family? Sort of. Little One and I go every Sunday. Hubbie isn't Catholic, so we are still working on him
Do you go to Confession regularly? Yes
Do the children attend a Catholic school or Catholic religious instruction program? Not yet; she's only two
Do you have religious instruction at home? Yes
Are there Catholic periodicals in your home? No, but we have Catholic books
Do you have a crib at Christmas? Yes
Do you send out cards that indicate Christmas is the birth of Christ? Yes
Does Christmas mean the coming of Christ or a chance to get gifts? Coming of Christ
Does Easter Sunday mean the resurrection of Christ or new clothes? Resurrection of Christ
Do you ever invite lonesome or needy people into your home? No
Do you ever provide a basket of food to a needy family, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas but during the rest of the year? Rarely

July 14, 2008

Sexualization of Young Girls

In today's culture of "live and let live", I don't know how to get across the point that it is everyone's responsibility to voice concern regarding the media's sexualization of young girls (or better yet: any woman). I hope to provide my child with the love and support to face the negative imagery that she is bound to come across. But she will still have to live in a world where most people don't seem to care.

In an article about a study from the UK:
Dr. Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation which worked on the study, said, "Girls and young women are being forced to grow up at an unnatural pace in a society that we, as adults, have created and it's damaging their emotional well-being."

Results of a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (2007), summarized here:

Research evidence shows that the sexualization of girls negatively affects girls and young women across a variety of health domains:

Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person's confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Mental and Physical Health: Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women-eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.

Sexual Development: Research suggests that the sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls' ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

Just for Fun: The Blog Readability Test

I had no idea...
blog readability test

July 8, 2008

Organic Pricing

On a recent trip to Whole Foods to pick up some organic milk, I decided to check out their store brand pricing in comparison to products at other grocery stores. It still seems expensive, but not necessarily by much. I haven't done in depth analysis, but I did find this article by someone who did. The organic, 365 Everyday Value brand of milk seems to run about 15-30% more (using my best guess on what milk runs at Kroger).

So, perhaps we will buy a few more organic products after all.

July 1, 2008

Forgiveness and Love

Driving home yesterday, I caught the NPR segment This I Believe: "The Long Road To Forgiveness" by Kim Phuc. She is the nine year old girl in the famous photo of children running through the streets after a napalm attach during the Vietnamese war. She spent over a year in the hospital where she was operated on 17 times. She grew to hate her life because she was not "normal". Kim Phuc talks about spending her days in the library - one of those books was the Holy Bible.

In 1982 she became Christian. She shares with listeners:
It was an amazing turning point in my life. God helped me to learn to forgive — the most difficult of all lessons. It didn't happen in a day and it wasn't easy. But I finally got it. Forgiveness made me free from hatred. I still have many scars on my body and severe pain most days but my heart is cleansed.

Napalm is very powerful but faith, forgiveness and love are much more powerful. We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope and forgiveness. If that little girl in the picture can do it, ask yourself: Can you?
An interesting question for us all.