Organic Grooming Cologne Rave

Oct 27, 2010

Just wanted to spread the word about my new favorite men's cologne, Organic Grooming Dusk Cologne by Herban Cowboy. For many years now, since changing over to natural products, I have become even more sensitive to artificial fragrances. My poor husband has to leave the room when he puts on his cologne because it gives me an instant headache and makes me sneeze. To him, cologne is a necessary part of personal hygiene, although I've tried to convince him otherwise. Occasionally, I search for natural perfumes for myself and, recently, I was excited to run across Herban Cowboy. After reading all of the positive reviews and seeing the reasonable price, I knew I had to try it.
Organic Grooming by Herban Cowboy Dusk Natural Cologne - 1.7 oz.

When it arrived, my teenage son was the first one to try it out. He liked it and decided to give it a test run. My husband is not an easy sell, so when he said he liked it, I was pleasantly surprised. Both of them have been wearing Dusk fairly regularly and have commented on how much more they like it now. Which is a good thing because I love it! No sneezing. No headaches. No scrunched up nose, trying to avoid smelling it. It's all natural, made with essential oils like lavender, bergamot, clary sage.  But it does not smell feminine at all. It smells very good. Snuggle up good. Hold him close good. Inhale him good. (Not my teen son, of course!) Bottom line, I am very impressed with Herban Cowboy's product and will definitely continue to buy it for the men in my life. If you are concerned about the chemicals in your man's cologne and/or are sensitive to them, I highly suggest Organic Grooming Dusk Cologne.

Disclaimer: This is a personal review, not affiliated with Herban Cowboy. I just really like it and wanted to share. I am an Amazon affiliate, however, so if you make a purchase through the above links, I'll receive compensation.

Wordless Wednesday #2 - "Busy Boy - Part 2"

Honey Apple Crisp

I adapted this recipe from an old promotional honey recipe booklet. I had to double it to make enough for my family. So, half it if your family is smaller and you don't want any leftovers. But I have to tell you that this is really good cold and works for breakfast too. When I made it, it filled a 9x13 dish and a small baking dish (about 8x8).

Honey Apple Crisp

8-9 c apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c honey (adjust to taste)


1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry OR unbleached flour (or combination)
1 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c cold butter
3/4 c chopped walnuts or pecans (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or lightly oil 9x13 baking dish.

In large bowl, stir or toss apple slices with lemon juice, then sprinkle with cinnamon and stir again to cover evenly.

Spread apples in baking dish; drizzle with honey.

In medium bowl, combine topping ingredients, cutting butter in until it resemble crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake about 25 minutes, until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned. (Try to) let cool for 10 minutes. Would be really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Linked to Tuesdays At the Table

Menu Plan Monday 10/25/10

Oct 25, 2010

Menu planning is essential for me to maintain my sanity and let's just say that I have been neglecting it for a while and my family is feeling the effects. Too much money is being spent eating out or on extra trips to the grocery. Kids get cranky when they have to wait too long because I'm not prepared. And my husband has been eating out way too often since he's on the road and only has a small window to take his dinner break. So, hopefully, this meme will help me maintain menu planning consistency.

Here is what we will be eating this week:

Monday:  Italian Chicken & Veggies (crockpot)

Tuesday:  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday:  Spaghetti Bolognese

Thursday:  Chicken Tacos w/Mexican Rice (crockpot)

Friday:  Pizza (chicken pesto, margherita)

Saturday:  Chili & Cornbread

Sunday:  Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches w/Home Fries (crockpot)

Linked to OrgJunkie.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Oct 24, 2010

This is my recipe and it has evolved over the years, just getting better and better. I throw things in until it looks right so I'll try to give approximate amounts. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients based on your family's preferences. If you leave something out, be sure to make up for it by adding more of something else. I sometimes add cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage) or some frozen spinach. You can also add a can of rinsed garbanzo beans (chick peas, ceci beans) instead of diced potatoes. This makes about 10 servings. If that is too much for your family, you can reduce it, freeze half, or bless someone else.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 c)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (46 oz) can tomato juice
1 (32 oz) box beef stock, unsalted (I use Kitchen Basics)
2 1/2 to 3 c frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans)
2 c frozen Fordhook limas
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, no salt
1 medium potato, peeled & diced
1/2 c quick-cook barley, opt. (omit for gluten-free)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste

In large dutch oven/pot, cook beef, onions, and garlic on medium until beef is browned throughout. Drain grease and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients, except barley and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Let cook for at least 30 minutes until veggies soften and soup color deepens (no longer bright red). Add seasonings and barley, if desired; let continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it gets.
Serve with crackers or butter bread and a salad.

If You Give a Squirrel a Nut...

Oct 20, 2010

Today was a beautiful Autumn day, so I read to the hobbits on our back porch swing. Here's how it went:

If you read a book called Nuts to You! to your little ones,

you're going to learn about squirrels, which will lead to a discussion about mammals, and your 7 year old will recognize that Mommy is a mammal because she has hair and nurses her young (science).

Then you will discuss what squirrels eat...

Nuts! Of course, they're going to want to feed the squirrels...

so, you give them some raw peanuts you had in the cupboard. They will scamper away to hide the peanuts for the squirrels to find.

You observe the trees and identify them (nature study). Then they will start to collect acorns, get distracted, forget it's "school time", and you'll have to take them inside...

If you are a homeschool mom, you want to squeeze out as much learning as you can, so you have your children watch out the windows to see if the squirrels come looking for the peanuts (more nature study), have them draw a picture of a squirrel that slightly resembles Perry the Platypus (art), have them label it (spelling & writing), and then you roast the peanuts and blend your own peanut butter (home economics/health & nutrition).

There you go...a full day of school.

Not really. There was also some Phonics and Math. {wink}

Wordless Wednesday #1 - "Busy Boy"

15% Off and

Oct 17, 2010

As a mom of five boys, I spend quite a bit of time searching for ways to save money. I use's Subscribe & Save for Seventh Generation diapers and get an extra 15% discount plus free shipping (if you join Amazon Mom, it's 30% off right now). And I recently read that Parents magazine sometimes has a 20% off coupon that can be used on TOP of that. I don't get it so let me know if you do. My kids' natural vitamins, baby wash, and some personal hygiene products come from They have the best price on those things that I've seen so far.

My most recent savings discovery is, but not just for disposable diapers. They have SO much more, even eco-friendly cloth diapers, toys, clothing, infant feeding equipment, and nursing bras. Today I used my 1st time discount to purchase a couple of Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers for Miles. If you're wanting to try cloth, they also have gDiapers, Happy Heiny's, Bumkins, and bumGenius.

Their partner site is and you have the same shopping cart for both stores. If you make purchases from  both sites, you get FREE shipping after you reach $25. Very easy to do! Of course, they carry popular brands of hair care, bath & body, household cleaners, and supplements, but they also have natural and organic brands. Seventh Generation. Kiss My Face. Tom's of Maine. Aubrey Organics. Burt's Bees. Garden of Life.

If you are not familiar with or yet, I'd like to introduce you. When you place your first order, enter RAKN1010 and get 15% off! Go on over and see all of the great stuff. You could even do some  gift shopping.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of and and will receive compensation if you make a purchase through the above links or code. 

Mercury Spill Clean-up

Oct 16, 2010

You never know what your day has in store for you when you have children, especially boys. Right now, several members of our family have colds so I have the "cold basket" out. It is filled with nasal sprays, chest rub, lozenges, earache drops, and a variety of...thermometers. I'm sure you can guess what happened from the title of my post.

While I was washing dishes, LJ found the basket and began asking what this and that were. I completely forgot about having a mercury thermometer in there (it seems to be more accurate than most of the digital ones I've tried). He tried to pull the cap off and broke off the end of the thermometer, shattering the glass and scattering tiny droplets of mercury all over the table, chair, floor, and himself, I'm sure. I've never had to deal with it before but I do know that mercury is hazardous. So I immediately grabbed up the baby, who was under the table, and sent everyone out of the kitchen. I stripped LJ's clothes and washed his hands. Papa Bear searched for instructions on cleaning up mercury while I searched for the glass and mercury droplets. When mercury "breaks", the droplets range in size and can be super tiny and difficult to find. Here is another site with detailed instructions on cleaning up mercury.

"It takes very little mercury in air to create unhealthy levels of vapor. Further, vacuuming any surface with mercury will make more vapor. Factors that affect the severity of risk from mercury in carpet or soft-surfaced items include the amount of mercury spilled, how much was recovered, the type of room and whether young children or pregnant women frequent the room." -Wisconsin Dept.of Health

It was easier to find the mercury on the wood table and chair. Unfortunately, we have carpet under our table and you can't vacuum this stuff up. I read that you can use packing tape to get it off the carpet but I can't find it at all. We are remodeling and were going to remove it anyway but it's going to have to come up today. I'm not taking any chances.

"Never use a broom or a vacuum on a mercury spill because it will only scatter the mercury droplets, making them harder to find and pick up." -Wisconsin Dept. of Health

Hopefully, my experience can help you be prepared, just in case you still have any old mercury thermometers around your house. When it first happens, shoo everyone out of the room and close the doors. Then, turn off any fans and your heating/cooling system and open windows to ventilate the room.

Here are a list of things you should have on hand:
  • Paper plate (for collecting mercury)
  • Latex or rubber gloves (good to have on hand for all sorts of reasons, just hide them from the kids)
  • Plastic zip baggies (for disposing of contaminated items)
  • Trash bags 
  • Tape (packing, duct, anything wide and sticky to pick up droplets, especially on carpet)
  • Medicine syringe or eye dropper (to pick up tiny droplets)
  • Index or playing cards (use to scoot droplets onto paper plate)
  • Paper towels
Wearing latex gloves, pick up glass pieces and scoot mercury beads onto paper plate using card or paper towels. After you've gotten all that you can find, wipe down the surfaces with a damp washcloth (that you won't miss) or paper towels. When you're finished collecting all the mercury, broken glass, and contaminated items, seal them all up in zip baggies, including any items you used to collect it and your gloves (pull from the wrist, turning inside out). I would double-bag it just in case the broken glass pokes through the bag. If you have more than one bag of contaminated items, collect them all in one trash bag. WASH YOUR HANDS! Make sure you label the bag "Mercury-Contaminated". Then contact your local waste management department and see if they have any special procedures for disposal.

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in hazardous materials or an OSHA or EPA employee, I just found this information on the internet and am sharing it with you. Please research on your own and consult a professional if you need help.

Conversations with LJ

Oct 15, 2010

LJ is 3 1/2 years old and I love our conversations. I thought I should make a record of some of them to read when I need to smile. (Imagine them spoken in preschooler dialect with complete sincerity.)

LJ: "There's a eating dog outside."
Me: "An eating dog? Are you afraid it will eat you?"
LJ: "Yea."
Me: "Did someone tell you that?"
LJ: "Yea, IB." (7yo brother)

LJ: "I love you, Momma."
Me: "I love you more."
LJ: "Thank you."

To the random woman at WalMart who tried to touch M2 while he was sleeping in my sling: "Don't touch my baby!"

While admiring the above picture of his new haircut today: "I like getting rid of my hair."

His current affirmative response: "Of course I do."

To the father of a playmate, who he had never met before, when the man gave him an instruction: 
"I don't have to listen to you cuz my Dad's a cop."
Later, at home (after a discussion about the difference between good/bad strangers and obeying authority and being respectful):
Me: "Just because Daddy is a police officer doesn't make you any better than other people."
LJ: "Yes it does." (Followed by more discussion. *sigh*)

Camping 2010

Oct 14, 2010

Our last two family camping trips have been cancelled due to unexpected events, so everyone was excited to finally make our recent excursion. Well, excited may not have been the word for all of us. I reluctantly prepared and packed for half of our family and even considered staying home several times. Papa Bear dealt with a few minor setbacks, as well. And M2 didn't know where we were going but he absolutely, positively hated the car ride and protested by screaming for most of it. But the other boys were excited.

We went with my mom and step-father, who have a pull-behind camper with mini-kitchen, A/C, heat, TV, and a bathroom. That's my kind of camping. My wonderful husband brought his latest "deal", a pop-up camper in need of some (expensive) TLC. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, by the second night there were 10 of us staying in my parents' camper and the pop-up will have to find a new home.

The destination was in a beautiful state park with a historic village and the timing was perfect for fall foliage. There were the typical camp activities including bike riding, walking in the woods, cooking breakfast outside, and roasting marshmallows, along with a tour of the village and late-night movies. There were some bumps along the way, but mostly, it was an enjoyable, relaxing experience.

Our Family Camping Rules 

Rule #1: Get dirty.

Rule #2: Eat outside (and eat lots of junk food).

Rule #3: Take naps outside.

Rule #4: Try something new.

Rule #5: Take the shortcut.

Rule #6: Observe the wildlife.

Rule #7: Pose by landmarks and interesting trees.

Rule #8: Wear your baby (not your make-up).

Rule #9: Play outdoor games (like Cornhole).

Rule #10: Wear comfortable shoes.

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