Monday, 8 February 2016

Bear is Becoming a Medium Bear

When I first started blogging I called bear, 'little bear'.  It was a nickname that stuck from the cuddly, playful, sunny baby that I brought home from the hospital.  I dropped the 'little' part around the time when bear started school.  I thought it was important to recognise that he was getting bigger and more autonomous.

Today, for the first time, bear was happy to skip night time songs.  It's probably only tonight, as DH is out so bear doesn't get a story.  Tomorrow the routine will continue as we have another chapter of A Horse and his Boy (by CS Lewis who could really write) which will be followed by the songs, but I suspect we have set a precedent.  It's just a significant moment because bear has always insisted on songs, and even extra songs if he wasn't getting a story.

Now that bear is in Year 4 he is getting to big and cool for mum kisses.  I can't kiss him goodbye in the morning as I drop him off anymore.  I have to sneak them in before we leave the house.  I have been uneasily waiting for this, as most of the cool dudes stopped kisses a while ago.  There are not so many hugs.

I suppose bear is now becoming a Medium Bear.  Before I know I will have a hulking, awkward, independent teenage with hollow legs hanging around.  I going to sneak in as many cuddles as I can, while I can.

Back to Day One

Doing okay actually.

I'm not doing the spice cupboard again, but I'm working through the Daily Cleaning List and I'm finding the Bullet Journal useful.  I've been on to the Water Board and chased up a missing duvet.

I am considering a pot plant or two.  They are supposed to be healthy, and geraniums are supposed to be good at absorbing formaldehyde, at least, according to this article on the BBC website.  I adore scented geraniums, and it would be great to have a few.  What more could I want - something I want that is good for my health.  The two problems are that there are not many good places to keep a sun loving plant in the house and also DH isn't as keen.  At least we no longer have cats ready to prune anything green.

It's probably the wrong time of year anyway.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Less Good Day

There is always a good side.  I have just cleared a counter and rethought how I can store stuff.  I am starting the 30 day to a cleaner house again tomorrow.  This means that I need to get some serious work going on.  The kitchen counters are a serious issue as when someone is living in the house behind us, it is often too damp to use the cupboards so everything gets left on the side.  I can work on that.

I've been re-reading the book and there will be a few interesting days ahead.  One day, I think it is Day Twenty Six but it will show as I go along, I am supposed to wash all the blankets.  I have swathes of blankets.  I have four on the sofa, a few on each chair, small ones on bear's computer chair, on the beds, in cupboards just in case their needed on the beds, and at least three still wrapped - I'm not washing the wrapped ones!  I can manage it.  I may have to plan carefully and hope for a good drying day.

However once I am in the rhythm I am hoping that I will have some good habits formed and the house will work well.

I have also done something interesting to my knee and the drain outside the kitchen has backed up.  That is not so good.  I think I am having a good day, just a less good day.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Home Made Cleaners

I'm really not sure about these.

I tried home made laundry detergent which was an enormously epic fail.  The home made powder refused to dissolve in the washer and the gloop never really got to the gloop stage.  I stocked up on Ariel instead when it was half price at Tesco.  I have just got a coupon from Tesco for 160 extra Clubcard points if I buy before 3rd April, so I shall be keeping a close eye on the price of Ariel until then.

When I cleared out the cupboard under the sink I found three spray cleaners.  It will take me a while to get through those, even with the 30 day cleaning plan.  However I was considering some of the recipes in the book.  One is a spray that you use on the shower and bath daily which is one part vinegar to three parts water with essential oil added.  I may use it.  I just bought 5 litres of white vinegar for just over £3 so the cost of a few drops of essential oil is likely to be the most expensive part of it.  It is unlikely to do much damage.

I am seriously considering using Bless's idea of steeping orange peels (in vast supply here) in vinegar and using that as a cleaner.

My basic reservations about home made cleaners is that many of the recipes combine vinegar (acid), baking soda (alkaline) and essential oils.  My very, very basic knowledge of chemistry says that acid and alkali cancel each other out so you end up with a neutral solution scented with essential oils.  I found, amidst a drift of articles about home made cleaners, a very interesting one here which includes this statement:  

However, the NPR report also stated that researchers at the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tennessee State University found that “water can remove 98 percent of bacteria when it’s used to rinse and soak produce.” Rubbing or brushing helps in cleaning.

So plain water with the compulsory 'few drops of essential oil' would be just as good.  I would also suggest that essential oils need to be treated with respect and care.  They can be incredibly powerful in very small doses.  

I think it is incredibly important to label any home made solution.  If and when I make up some of the diffuser solution I shall be labelling it as poison.  Surgical spirit and essential oils are not good for anyone.  

Looking through the links has made me curious so I am off to browse.  I will share if I find anything interesting.  

Why Do I Want To?

I have replaced the pillows on bear's bed.  I had put this off for some time, as bear doesn't bother much with pillows.  He usually sleeps next to them.  However when I changed the pillowcases last week I actually noticed them.  They were a poor example of a pillow, flat and limp with miscellaneous stains.  I don't allow food in the bedrooms, but stuff slips through occasionally.

I got the pillows relatively inexpensively, and these ones may be worth washing.  The ones that they replace are not.  The filling is grinding down to dust and the cover wasn't robust to start with.  At the moment they look like distasteful placemats. I quickly removed them so that bear couldn't declare an emotional attachment so that they had to be kept.  So why do I have to sit on my hands to stop myself from washing them before throwing them out?

I am tempted to succumb, just to do a 'before and after' pic.  I expect they would still be flat, just a lot lighter.  I think the shame of the state they got into will stop me.

Friday, 5 February 2016

I Made Two Diffusers

I blogged about making diffusers on 3 January 2016.  It wasn't very satisfactory.  I tried again today.

First of all, I found these


It's a bottle of a basil seed drink, which is apparently Good For You and available in Thailand.  Bear enjoyed his.  It turned out that they are the right size and shape for the whole diffuser thing, as worked out by me.

Once bear had emptied a bottle or two and I assembled my kit, I had this


That is, surgical spirit, essential oil, glass bottle with narrow neck, water and gemstone chips.  Getting the gemstone chips (remarkably inexpensive from eBay, but I got less volume than I expected for £3.29) into the bottle was a challenge, but I split it between two bottles and added the mixture left over from last time (50% water, 50% alcohol, loads of drops of essential oil).  I got this


The picture doesn't really do it justice.  The chips are lovely and iridescent and the liquid is very clear. It looks muddy in the picture.

And when it needs topping up it will not only be visible but use remarkably little.  The kit is stashed away for use in a few weeks time.  That's one thing off the list.  Eleventy ten to go.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bear is Still Slightly Endangered

The Battle of the Curtains continues.  I have had a long talk with DH.  We have had to look at what is realistic and possible with nine year old boys.  After some discussion, we agreed.  We are eventually going to move furniture to limit his access to the curtain.  Giving bear some naff raff about the curtain has limited success and I suspect in the end it will just bounce off him.  I am currently trying to work out whether I can sew a casing under the heading tape to take the curtain pole.  It will either resist bear's accidental attacks or pull the pole down.

I have to stress that I do not think bear is trying to do anything.  I think it is entirely accidental and without malice.  It is also without much contrition.

Last night I was on the phone telling bear's cousin all about it.  I stopped mid-sentence as bear paraded through carrying a piece of card with 'Shame' written on it.


I could hear giggling behind the cardboard as he held it in front of his face.  I told this to his cousin who was highly amused, and updated her on the position of bear's thumb.  Bear returned with this.


I reassured him that it would be very simple and he would be fine while continuing to chat to his cousin.  Bear returned with the amended first sign.


I'm working on stopping him interrupting phone calls.  At least it has stopped audible interruptions, although the giggling kept going.

Bear does continue advanced.  For a nine year old, his eye rolling at what his parents are telling him is remarkably forward.  At the moment I find the roll of the eyes amusing.  Long may that continue!