Category Archives: family

Mr. Rogers Garden Of Your Mind


Have some tissues ready because this will make you tear up! I do not claim to own this video. It’s from PBS Studios. Man I miss Mr. Rogers! I know this has nothing to do with sustainable living or anything else that I normally post, but I thought this needed to be shared. 🙂


The Tiny Little Closet Under The Stairs


None of you know this, but last year my husband and I (along with thousands of other people in our community) lost our house to a huge tornado that ripped through our city last year. My mother-in-law’s place of employment was also torn down, therefor turning their lives upside down as well. She is still unemployed, even after a year of looking. I’m not writing this to get pity or anything, but more as an inspiration and an idea of what a community should be like.

When I first moved into town, I really didn’t like it here. I am a country girl by nature, so I would rather be in the country than the city. I love doing things like gardening and my garden was starting to look good until that fateful day in May. I remember it like it was yesterday instead of one year and two and a half weeks ago. My husband and I were letting one of his brothers live with us at the time and he had his girlfriend over. My husband and I were at his parents’ house just across the street visiting with them, and one of his other brothers and his family. We were just sitting outside shooting the breeze when the wind started to pick up a little bit, and it started to storm. We didn’t really think anything of it because that’s just what the weather here is like. It could be super nice one minute, then raining and blowing the next.

Once it started to rain a little harder, my husband and I decided to walk back home (again, it was across the street). I started up the computer, not giving it two thoughts. Then the power started flickering, so I quickly shut the laptop down. I looked out the window for a second and saw a garbage can flying down the street. When I say flying, I don’t mean it was tumbling down the street. I mean it was AIRBORNE. So I thought to myself “Oh sh–!” and at that moment my brother-in-law and his girlfriend came running down the stairs, and my other brother comes busting in through the front door to see of we’re okay. (His wife was super angry about that, btw, and rightfully so!)

So we’re scrambling for a place to hide when I remembered we have a closet under the stairs (we never used it, THANK GOD!) So I shuffled everyone into the closet, and my brother-in-law that we were visiting with earlier went in last so he could hold onto the door handle. No sooner than we got that door shut did the front window and the second bedroom window bust out and send glass flying into the dining room where we were just one second before. It was the longest half hour of my life with the five of us huddled in that tiny little closet under the stairs, saying our prayers. And just as fast as it started, it was over. Our house was destroyed, and our lives were forever changed.


This is what our house looked like after the tornado. It doesn’t look that bad, but it looked a lot worse before we got all the holes covered up. It wasn’t enough to prevent a massive fungal bloom though, which is ultimately what destroyed our home.

Immediately following the tornado, almost everyone in our neighborhood pretty much gathered at my mother-in-law’s house because it was the only house that was almost unscathed.


This is what her house looked like after the tornado. You’d think it would have fared worse than ours, but thank god it didn’t!



This is what the neighborhood looked like, and we were only on the EDGE of the tornado. The majority of the city that got hit fared much worse than we did.


St. Mary’s Cross, just a few blocks from where we live. I do not claim to own this photo.


This is a random picture that I took while surveying the damage about maybe a week or so after the tornado.

It still amazes me how quick even just regular civilians responded after the tornado to help people and, as a tragic consequence, help find our deceased. The fact that a community can join together and help people that they don’t even know is nothing short of inspirational. I will never forget the people that immediately came from all over the U.S. (and even one guy from Japan!) to help us.

As our house comes closer and closer to being finished I think about all the volunteers who took the time out of their lives to help us rebuild ours. Just thinking about it, I’m sitting here crying as I type. lol I hope that our community can continue to keep up this same spirit of hope and selflessness and pass it on to others

We got our house completely demolished during the summer of last year (August I think?), but our foundation wasn’t poured until January. It was a very mild winter, so it was doable. A few months later, on March 16 of this year our house FINALLY started to get built. It wasn’t really that long, but it seemed like forever to us.

Now, almost 3 months after the house started being rebuilt, it’s almost done! We got our power hooked up today, but there seems to be a short somewhere, so 8 of the 21 lights in our house don’t work at the moment. The first time I saw my husband turn on the kitchen light, I automatically started crying (like I’m doing again right now). It seems like we’re getting so much closer to moving out of his parents’ house (bless their hearts for letting us live with them and putting up with me haha) and moving into our new home. I’m so happy I could cry… again!

Just Some Random Thoughts


My mother-in-law put the laundry detergent I made the other day to some good use yesterday. She washed my father-in-law’s socks, underoos, and work shirts (all white and very dirty) with it and put some distilled white vinegar in the wash as a fabric softener. Afterward the clothes looked fantastic and smelled… like nothing. Just plain old freshness and not vinegar, and they were very soft. 🙂

I kind of had a “thunk”, as my mother-in-law puts it. I decided I want to clean houses with my DIY cleaners, etc. I don’t know if it will pan out, but I hope it does. I haven’t yet brought it up with the hubby, but I don’t think he will mind. I will be bringing some money into the house. So, let’s hope someone answers my craigslist ad!

Always Wear A Mask!


I decided to make my first batch of powder laundry detergent today. It was pretty easy but, if you do this, remember to WEAR A MASK while making it! The soap particles will float up into the air and it really sucks to inhale them. lol


Me wearing my mask! 🙂

The soap I used (the green bar of Ivory) smells REALLY good too… can’t wait to use it on my laundry! I made this batch for both me and my mother-in-law to use. With how much she does the laundry, it should go rather quickly. 🙂

And I just realized how much I like to use smileys… hmmm.

Anyway, here’s the recipe!


1 bar Ivory Soap

1/2 cup Borax (20 Mule Team is the best, you can find it at your local grocery store in the laundry aisle)

1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer, not to be confused with Baking Soda, you can also find this in the laundry aisle)


a cheese grater or a knife to grate the soap

a container to put your detergent in


1. Grate the Ivory into the container you’ll use for the detergent. If you want a finer powder you can put your soap in a food processor AFTER grating it. Blend for a few seconds and it should be finely ground. 🙂

2. Pour your detergent back into the container you’ll be using. MAKE SURE YOU’RE STILL WEARING YOUR MASK! Put a 1/2 cup of Borax and a 1/2 cup of Washing Soda (again, NOT baking Soda!) into the container and SHAKE WELL!


You only need to use 1/8 of a cup of this per load. This recipe will make 16 loads, but you can tweak it to make more loads. Just double the ingredients (for example instead of using 1/2 cup of Borax and a 1/2 cup of Washing Soda, use 1 cup of Borax, and 1 cup of Washing Soda. Use 2 bars of soap).


Easy, yes? I thought so too!

Sage Advice From My Sister


My sister and I are two and a half years apart to the day. I would always borrow her stuff without asking, use her makeup without asking (and do a very poor job at applying it, I might add!), and basically doing what I could to annoy her. Because she’s my big sister, and that’s what little sisters do. We always loved each other, and we both knew that, but it didn’t stop us from getting into fights. Because we are sisters, and that’s what sisters do.


I remember one time, when I was about 12 or 13, I borrowed my sister’s Bugs Bunny shirt that she had gotten on her 8th grade class trip to Six Flags. I went to a friends house to play, and when we were taking a break from playing, I accidentally sat in a chair full of blueberries. Man was she ticked!

But as we got older, after she had moved out and gone to college when I was 15, we didn’t fight quite as much, if at all. And suddenly she became a well of advice! I mean, who knew?! Even to this day I am still getting advice from her. Especially when it comes to eating healthy. I never really knew how to have a very healthy diet because that’s just how I was brought up. Processed this, processed that. Anything to make cooking a little easier. Not that my mom didn’t try to get healthy things on the dinner table, it just wasn’t readily available to us where we grew up. We lived in a very small town where even the closest grocery store was almost 30 minutes away, let alone having something like a farmer’s market.

However, it’s been another 15 years and I am still eating processed foods. But now that I live in a town where we have TWO farmer’s markets, I am definitely going to be making more trips there. I got an email from my sister today, giving me more awesome advice! I want you guys to read it as well (without the email addresses of course! Privacy is everything!) 🙂 :

“yep. fresh produce is huge! Become a regular at the farmer’s market and ask around to see if there’s a Share program (You pay a flat fee upfront, and local farmers put together boxes of fresh-picked food weekly so you’re eating produce that’s in season is very well-rounded).
“Eat a rainbow” is a good catch phrase to remind you to eat lots of bright, colorful, fruits and veggies. Each one does something so different and necessary for your health, so the more variety, the better. But if you eat the same thing over and over again, you’re likely to see negative side effects too. for example, bananas are super good for you, but if you eat too many you’ll get constipated! 🙂 Just mix it up, and eat lots of rich greens! Another phrase I try to remember: “Eat food [meaning real food; not processed foods], not a lot, mostly vegetables.” (I think that’s how it goes.)
Love you!”

I remember hearing about the Share program when I was little.


But, for some reason, I always thought of the singer Cher. And I thought to myself “What does Cher have to do with food?”


lol I guess I was a little slow. It just goes to show that, no matter how old you are, a good big sister will always be there for you to give you good advice. 🙂 Love you, sissy!