Lavender Lemon Disinfecting Spray

 
@cleanmama @godschicki

Natural Cleaning

Ridding our home of chemicals and doing things as naturally as possible has been a passion of mine since we found out we were expecting our first baby over three years ago.
Cleaners today are filled with chemicals that have been linked to a whole host of health issues.
Choosing to do away with these products is about  being a good steward of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19) and our world.
Natural cleaners you can buy can be pricey. Making our own saves a lot. Allowing us to be better stewards of our finances as well.
Clean Mama, Becky Rapinchuk, has a book that I recently got.
Becky has kindly allowed me to share this recipe for Lavender Lemon Disinfecting Spray with you as a taste of what is in the book. Along with the recipes, Becky shares some helpful tips and information about cleaning and the ingredients used in her recipes. She also shares some amazing check lists.

This post contains affiliate links. That does not change the price that you pay, but it gives me a small commission.

Lavender Lemon Disinfecting Spray @godshcicki

Lavender Lemon Disinfecting Bathroom Spray

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vodka (excellent germ-killing properties)
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water (distilled or boiled and cooled)

Mix all ingredients, using a funnel, pour into a pray bottle. Give a good shake and spray your bathroom surfaces.
Glass spray bottles are best to use as essential oils can cause plastics to leech some pretty nasty stuff into your cleaner. Here are some great ones.
If you want to check out of the great recipes in the book, you can check it out here.
Becky’s instructions :
Let it sit for about 10 minutes (to kill germs), and then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.  In the bathroom it’s important to avoid any cross-contamination so I wipe in this order with separate cloths – mirror, sink, tub/shower, toilet.
She notes that if your spray bottle is 16 oz, you can simply cut the recipe in half.
Since this has vinegar in it, it should not be used on marble counters.
Check out the original post here. You can click here for Beck’s Speed Clean You Bathroom Post.
 
 

Chicken Salad

 
My Chicken Salad is a recipe that I have used for years. Sometimes I mix it up with the add-in I’ve listed below, but it’s always a crowd favorite. Great for parties or potlucks.
Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

  • 3 cups chicken breast-boiled, shredded and cooled
  • 1 – 1 1/2  cups homemade mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup cube sweet salad cubes, with about 80-90% of the juice squeezed out (I use my hands, though you could use a tea towel)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Other options (I would say mix and match according to you taste, but not add everything):

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grapes, quartered
  • 1/4-1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

While chicken is cooking, mix rest of ingredients and chill in fridge until chicken is cooled (this lets the flavors develop, so don’t skip this step). Once chicken is ready, mix with sauce mix.
Great served on a sandwich with lettuce, a tomato, on crackers, on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and country (red-eye) ham. Croissants are also amazing with the salad on them.
I cut the chicken into strips (against the grain) and put them in my kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment for a minute until it’s the desired constancy, but you can do this by hand or with a fork or with a handheld mixer. If you use a mixer, do it while the chicken is hot.
In a pinch sweet relish would work, but I like the crunch of the salad cubes.
Chicken Salad @godschicki
 

Peace & Christmas Memories

 
merry christmas (1)I have not been here as much as I would have liked to be in the past few months.
My granddaddy recently passed away.  He was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer a few short months ago. Finding the source was pointless. Chemo was pointless. He refused radiation. He went downhill much faster than we thought and hoped and prayed that he would. The predicted 6 months was only a bit more than 3.
My biological father died when I was a few days from turning 2. Granddaddy was really the only ‘daddy’ I had known until my mom remarried when I was 8.
We only live a few hours away, so our monthly visits turned into weekly visits at least. Sometimes more. We made it a priority to be down there as much as we could, and then some.
He walked with the Lord here on earth, and I have such a peace knowing he is walking with Him now. I do not mourn as one without hope. I know that we will see him again. That he is no longer suffering and is completely healed. Even before his diagnosis, he was not able to get out and work his garden like he loved to do. He was limited in what he could do, which was driving him crazy.
The hardest part in all of this is, I desperately want my kids to remember him.  Being 2 1/2 and 1 1/8 I know there is hardly a chance of that.
We have pictures and videos, which may just have to do.
My love of Christmas probably comes from Granddaddy. We had gone down Friday for an early Christmas with him on Saturday. He told my mom he wanted to rest up for it and that he was “looking forward to Christmas tomorrow”. He went to be with Jesus around midnight that night. The next day I found a poem he had written about Christmas and the greatest gift in the yard (mixed in with stuff that was going away). I may post that in the future.
Until the last couple of years, when his mobility was challenged, we waited for him to arrive to open our stockings and presents. The last couple of years we did open the stockings before he arrived, but waited for presents.
I remember my Grandma telling the story of their first Christmas without kids in the house. Granddaddy woke her up at 5 asking what it was like to sleep in on Christmas. She told him she did not know yet.
When I was little we used to drive around looking at Christmas lights. I loved the ones that went “Blinka, blinka”. He used to tease me about it every year as we saw Christmas lights begin to go up around the neighborhood.
Decorating the tree was a family event, both at our house and at Grandma and Granddaddy’s.
Christmas will be hard for me this year. This year has been chaotic to say the least, with many ups and downs. Spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. Through it all, it has been God’s peace and knowing He is Sovereign that has gotten me through it.
I wrote most of the rest of this several years ago. Okay, probably more than 10 years ago now that I really think about it. But I think it is perfect reminder for this season of my life, as it has been many times before. I have added just a bit.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
                                                                         Isaiah 9:6

When I was asked to ponder what Jesus means to me, the first thing that came to mind was friend, and he is, but God’s been showing me in the past few weeks that He’s also my Prince of Peace.
  I got the song “I’ve got peace like a river” stuck in my head a couple of times in the past few weeks (and the only part I know is I’ve got peace like a river), and I was thinking about it the other day, rivers are peaceful, but they also go over rocks and hard places too.
  God’s peace isn’t what we normally think peace is. We think of peace as the absence of conflict, but God’s peace goes much deeper. His peace still a troubled mind and brings a calm feeling that no matter what happens, even when life is insanely busy, or you feel as though your world is falling apart, everything will be okay, because God is in control, overseeing everything.
During this hectic season, I pray that He would be your Prince of Peace as well.
Prince of Peace @godschicki
A Loft Link Up Prompt @godschicki

Life

I have not post as much as I wanted to this summer. Life has been busy. Between chasing two toddlers (because L is not a baby anymore….sniff, sniff) and trying to do stuff around the house, I have had little time to do much else. I am not going to worry with a picture for this post, I do not think it is very ‘pinnable’.
This is pretty much just an update post for now. I hope to get a couple of other posts up here this week, but we will see. It’s already Wednesday.
We took part in a great choir homecoming celebrating the 20+ years of excellence in ministry of the choir director who ruined most other choirs for me (seriously, he demanded a level of excellence that I have not seen since). What a legacy he has left (and not just the whole ruining other choirs for people). Over 100 current and former choir members took part (not counting the drama participants who returned), It was nice to see so many old friends.
Big news: we have a new freezer and a new (to us) vehicle with air conditioning.
The freezer we got on sale after ours had been struggling for a while. The new one is a chest freezer, which I am still not sure about. There is a lot more room without the shelves, and the energy savings are supposed to be big, but I lost my casserole dish storage….
The vehicle is an SUV instead of a van like we had planned on, but it meets all of our criteria we set out before we left. B is already in love with it. On a recent trip to the pool (after having the car all of three days), he freaked out as we were leaving because someone else in a similar car was driving away (and blocking the view) of our car. He was much relieved to see our car was still there!
It has been hot here the last few weeks. Yesterday and Monday we had heat advisories.
Story time is almost over for the summer.
We have fail miserably at the Strong Family Challenge the last couple of weeks. Though, since we do a lot of this stuff anyway, I do not feel too badly about it. Perhaps we will just pick up where we left off, or do the challenges after we finish the rest.
The littles are up, it’s breakfast time.

Best Vacation {A Loft Linkup Prompt}

I have been blessed to take several lovely vacations, though I think my favorite, or the best yet, has been the trip I took with my husband to Europe in 2012.
I was going to pull excerpts from my vacation journal, but it’s 40+ pages typed out, and my “excerpts” ended up  around 2500 words… and that was only half of it! But I have decided to go through and post some of it in bits and pieces sometime soon. For now, here are some highlights in a few words, with photos. I may have gone crazy with the photos…..
We got to be in three places at once at Drielandenpunt, where the borders of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium meet.

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The Tower

In 3 countries at once….

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The Place where the borders meet

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Bits of the view from the tower

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We got to go to a Lindts Chocolate Outlet (They had full sized shopping buggies! We just fill a handbasket…).
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Chocolate

We got into “the hiding place” at the Corrie Ten Boom house/museum. What an amazing experience. Just to be able to learn about Corrie and drink in the history.
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The Keukenhof was amazing. So many flowers and fun things to see. Truly beautiful. We spent a good part of the day there and did not get to see everything!
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We toured some fairly fairy-tale-esque castles in Germany.
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Burg Eltz

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Waffles, Lace, Chocolate,  Frites and amazing architecture in Brussels.

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We had a day off before we went to Budapest, Hungary to meet my sweet friend, Magdi who gave us a whirlwind tour of her beautiful home town.  We saw almost everything there is to see in Budapest thanks to our lovely guide. It was an amazing city and I hope to go back one day to see more of it and take more time to drink in the history and architecture.

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At Margaret Island

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In Hero’s Square

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Cathedral ceiling

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On Margaret Island with my dear friend

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Next we headed to Paris, France. Oh. My. Word. Again, much to see, and while we got to see a lot of it, I would love to go back (I could honestly spend about a week in the Louvre alone!) and see more. Notre Dame, Le Sacre Coeur, The Eiffel Tower (which sparkles every 45 minutes or so at night), The Statue of Liberty (yes, you read that right) and the Louvre were the major sights we saw. I’m sure I am missing some, but hey…
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Le Sacre Coeur

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On the train to Paris

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The Arc de Triomphe

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Notre Dame at Night

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It sparkles every 45 minutes or so at night

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Part of the view from the Eiffel Tower

Creme Brulee

Best Vacation @godschicki #theLoft
Outside of the Louvre

Inside the Napoleon Apartments at the Louvre

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The Mona Lisa

Trying to see ‘her’ was a pain, not really a line, just a very packed in mass of people trying to get closer. Not very enjoyable viewing, however, if you walk across the hall from the room the Mona Lisa is in, you can stare all day at another, just as nice, if not prettier painting by DaVinci. Because no one is looking at it….yeah, I know. Silly.
The Statue of Liberty

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Okay, so that is a tiny bit about my best vacation. I will have to post more photos from this trip sometime, maybe when I put up my trip journal I’ll link to the album. (If you’d really like to see a bunch of architectural details and more flowers  and more art from the Louvre, let me know and I may go ahead and link to them in this post in a bit…)

theloft

Service Project {Strong Family Challenge Week 3}

A bit late this week, but here is our Strong Family Challenge update for last week. To check out the challenge, check out Faith Along The Way.
The challenge:

Week 3: Service Project

Give back in a big way and teach your children to be a servant.  Even the littlest of children have ways to help serve others.

With a 2 year old and a now 1 year old, I was wondering what to do as a service project. I mean, what do you do as a service project with a 2 year old?
A big highlight of our week is trash day. A big highlight. Our little guy loves the trash trucks. Each week we pray for our sanitation workers, that they would have a great day and stay safe.
On Wednesday night we stashed some coconut waters and plain waters in the frig and wrote a card for our sanitation workers.
Strong family challenge @godschicki #strongfamily
One of the drivers waves and honks when he sees little man and I at the front door. Such a simple act has blessed our home so much. I wanted to try to make his day brighter, so when we heard him come into the neighborhood this week, we waited outside for him to get to our house. We gave him the card and thanked him for his service, and gave him some water. I pray that it blessed his day like he blesses ours.
Strong family challenge @godschicki

Outside {Strong Family Challenge Week 2}

In case you missed it, last week I shared about Faith Along the Way’s Strong Family Challenge. Here is my post for the past week’s ‘theme’.
Strong Family Challenge Week 2 @godschicki @faithalongtheway #strongfamilyproject

Week 2: Outside
Do something together outside that gets the whole family involved and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Since our kids are not too hard to entertain, we have done some pretty simple things.
My kids enjoy being outside tremendously. We have a bunny in our backyard they like to chase around until he goes and hides in his home (he’s a wild bunny, not a pet, and I sort of feel like Mr McGregor chasing Peter out of my garden…).
This week has been hot. We took time to build sandcastles and memories in the sandbox and worked on putting in the garden for the year, and played in the pool.
In the sandbox we have a bunch of toys. A few of those funnel/wheel things that you put the sand in and it spins the wheel as it sifts through the funnel. Our little guy get excited seeing it filter out. Our girlie likes to sift it through her hands.
Outside Fun @godschicki
Putting in the garden has been a slow process this year. Instead of doing it once, all day, I have worked on it little by little all this week.
As I work in it, I get the kids to help me water the plants. Girlie tries to help me by tasting the plants….and the dirt….
What I like about gardening with the kids is I can start teaching them simple truths about walking with the Lord through object lessons. The garden and planting hold so many spiritual lessons! So, while they may not remember my exact words, hopefully, as we talk about them each day, they will pick up on them and they will be hidden in their hearts and minds.
That is our week “Outside”.
Sometimes we think that we have to plan a super big deal to make memories, but some of my fondest childhood memories are of simple, every day things. Playing the the sandbox. Building camp fires and ‘cooking’ over them. Walking with Grandma or Granddaddy for one on one time. Reading with Mom (or Granddaddy). Catching fireflies.
Do not feel that since you can not have some grand elaborate plan that you can not take part in the strong family challenge.

A Place Called Home

I have called a few places home.
I grew up in a small country town. One high school. Maybe a dozen stop lights. A handful of  restaurants. Traffic jams were caused by tractors. People hold doors for you all the time. They offer to help if they see you struggling with anything. In that small town, we lived out in the county. Surrounded by fields. A enormous garden. I loved it. I lived with my mom, dad, two sisters and brother. My grandparents right next door.
Even though it was 45 minutes to the closest Walmart, it was so much simpler. Slow paced and quiet. I will likely always think of this as my hometown.
I married and now we live in a city. Seven high schools. Too many stoplights to count. Hundreds of restaurants. Traffic jams are a way of life, and the drivers aren’t courteous as they are where I grew up. Common courtesies are a rarity. We are in a townhouse. Our small yard is played in by the neighborhood kids who leave their trash all over and trample my flowers. The closest Walmart is 5 minutes away and we’re 10 minutes from 2 others. Less if you catch the lights just right.
But my family is here, and it is home now, though I would love to live in the country again. You see, my home on earth is where my family is. My husband and littles make a place, wherever it may be, home.
God has planted us here for a reason. Maybe it is to be Jesus to those unkind or burdened people, brightening their day with a smile. Maybe it is to be Jesus to those kids. Inviting them to play in the yard, welcoming them and giving them a safe place to play.
A place called home @godschicki #theloftlinkup #thisworldisnotmyhome
Ultimately, as a follower of Christ, my home is not on this earth.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? ”

John 14:1-2

One day, heaven will be my home.
I can not wait.

theloft
This Page Shared at #TheLOFT

"Fun" {Strong Family Challenge Week 1}

@godschicki #strongfamily project
A while back I ran across this post by Faith Along the Way. Sarah Ann has been gifted with a great vision for families this summer. I think I will be posting about the previous week’s challenge Mondays. This idea is simple: Build stronger bonds in you family by intentionally looking for things to do.
Our kiddos are little still, so it doesn’t have to be elaborate get a 2 and almost 1 year old to have fun!
Week One’s Challenge is:

 Plan something fun to do with your family that you haven’t done before or done in a while.  Frugal fun is often the best, so be creative!

This week we did a couple of things.
We had a water fun day Saturday as we set up a kiddie pool by our sandbox. The kids had a blast and daddy got “in” on the fun too. Pretty inexpensive (I paid $2 for the pool last year at the end of summer and it just took some water to fill up), but loads of fun.
Water Fun Day @godschicki @Fatihalongtheway #strongfamilyproject
We also went to a local festival and watched the fireworks together. I have always loved fireworks and festival atmospheres. Our little guy could take ’em or leave ’em, but little girlie loved it. It only cost us to park.
Summer is a great time to catch festivals in your area. Many times you can follow your city’s Facebook page, subscribe to your local recreation center’s news letter or just watch the news to find fun times in your area.
Don’t forget to look for sales on swim gear as the season draws to an end!
It is not too late to join in…….

Blog Reboot

I’ve been playing around with the idea of seriously blogging (not just journal type blogging) for quite some time now. I tried a bit to make my old ‘blog’ into more of a blog, but I’ve decided to try this out for a while. I have so many ideas, but as I stare at this form, I’m kind of blanking. I think my first post should be something substantial, but what?
With two sick kiddos, not much has gotten done around the house today, but that is okay. Dishes and laundry can wait for a bit. The kids are only little once. I will take all the cuddles I can get from my sweeties. I just wish they felt better. As I write this, I am wearing one little one and have the other’s head in my lap while they nap. :Sighs: So sweet.
If you have little ones, drink up all the sweet little moments. Write some down for when they get older, for when you get older.