challenge

Our 30-Day Cleaning Challenge Is Officially Over! Here’s What We Found:

I’ve never enjoyed cleaning so much, honestly, as when I made my own brews -- and, while some lucky souls find cleaning meditative, enjoying it is very much a first for me. Homemade cleaners smell so amazing, and feel so elemental, this 30-Day Challenge has been right up my alley. My family is both stunned and thrilled by the outbreak of domestic diva. My husband, who has always been handy around the house, dear soul, took it the distance this weekend, and washed our sofa slipcover with the soapnut liquid wash yesterday.

Soapnuts and Soapnut Soak: A New Addition to our Cleaning Challenge

My father always says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He used to say this often to me growing up, mainly in response to my constant desire to buy new products at the drugstore down the street, and undoubtedly to curb my material appetites and incessant grass-is-always-greener desire for change -- but how could I resist the allure of new and improved shampoos, ointments, beauty products? (I was nine years old, and Longs Drugs was the only place I was allowed to bike by myself, besides the gas station for gum). The result? Do you have a cabinet filled with half-used cosmetics and potions? I don’t, but only because I finally heeded his sage advice after an unsightly allergic reaction to a new facial cleanser, at age 29 -- my old cleanser had been working flawlessly until then, but the package of this new one was...so pretty, with claims of organic natural goodness broadcasting from its label.

The Homemade Cleaning Challenge Continues: More Room Freshening Ideas & Natural Fabric Softeners

 (Plus a Couple of Critiques from my Ever-Patient Husband)

Okay, so I’m loving the 30-day cleaning challenge -- because, as we’ve established, I love a challenge (at least, occasionally). And it IS a challenge. A challenge, for example, to convince my hubby, that streaky windows are a small price to pay for windows I’d let my loved ones lick -- come to mention it, that’s a tough one for me too. And tougher than tough to get him to buy any more of the recycled toilet paper -- because, as he puts it, it’s no help to the environment if he has to use a whole roll of thin sandpaper where a couple of pillow-soft squares would have otherwise been enough. This all makes him the perfect critic for the cleaning challenge.

The Healthy Homemade Cleaning Challenge

 

For 30+ Days We're Using and Creating Homemade Cleaning Products that (Hopefully!) the Entire Family will Love

Well, its been a while since we’ve challenged ourselves at Mommy’s ER (childbirth aside) and I’m delighted to say that my son still eats breakfast like a champ -- check out our series on the breakfast challenge -- link here. Now today, watching my sweet new baby boy roll over for the first time, his expression reminds me of the level of determination and satisfaction that a good challenge provides -- even what appears to be a small one. So what better day to launch a new challenge -- cleaning our house with natural cleaning products? I mean, rolling is just a hop, skip and jump away from crawling, toddling and otherwise putting our floors to the test. I want to make sure the floors are ready for his exploring mouth and tender skin.

The...29 Day...Challenge? Plus, My Family’s Recipe for Wheat Germ Pancakes

Ugh, today I got lazy -- and failed. I offered my son another English muffin (homemade this time, but this gets a big ‘who-cares’ from most little ones I know -- if it isn’t delicious, they aren’t impressed by elemental cooking). In any case, it was another English muffin, with nut butter -- strike that -- I was in a hurry and just threw on some fruit jam, which at that moment was easier to find, and cut a couple of slices of pear -- strike that too, my husband did it.... And we threw it all in the car instead of sitting down as we’ve been doing throughout this challenge. So, in total, a complete disaster. In the end, my tired son, already feeling ornery and slightly rebellious about going back to school after Spring Break, took one look at breakfast on a paper towel, and disdainfully shut his lips tight and glared at me as though I had just demanded he drink down battery acid.

BREAKFAST CHALLENGE SUCCESS: French Toast with Fruit

I forget how quick French toast really is to make. It combines the protein of the eggs with the complex carbohydrates of the bread, which satisfies the protein - complex carbohydrate balance that feeds little one’s brain. Equally important, he loves it!
This recipe is easily modifiable for food sensitivities and preferences, and feels like a treat to my son. With nearly 12 grams of protein per slice, this is a breakfast that seems like a decadent treat, and still gives us the protein/complex carbohydrate balance we’re looking for. This recipe is my variation on a wonderful Good Housekeeping recipe (thanks, Delish.com for posting!) that we’ve amended to accomodate my son’s favorite ingredient (cinammon, cinammon, cinammon!), and his food sensitivities.

The 30-day Breakfast Challenge

The Shame

I’ve been taking a lot of heat lately -- from my own parents, and my mother-in-law -- and the truth is, I deserve it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s how I was raised (and both behavioral and cognitive studies on children agree!)... and yet...

Too many mornings we are racing to the car with a toaster waffle or granola bar in hand. Lunch, dinner, we have raised a beautifully balanced eater (throw a little sauce on his greens and he’ll down anything from broccoli to kale), but breakfast? Well, suffice it to say, we haven’t raised much of a breakfast eater, and both sets of grandparents have noticed.

The Importance of Breakfast

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