Monday, June 11, 2012

Make Your Own Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Although, I’ve mostly fully recovered from being raised by a crazy hippy, I do still have some “crunchy, hippy, granola-y” tendencies; mostly when it comes to the use of chemicals in my home (I try to avoid it as much as possible).  Unfortunately, this is generally in direct conflict with my OCD, germophobe tendencies that compel me to constantly clean and disinfect everything in my house on a nearly daily basis. Yeah…I know…I confuse myself sometimes.

Thankfully, I am friends with some brilliant women, one of whom suggested that I make my own disinfecting cleaners using environmentally friendly, chemical free, household items.  I was skeptical that this would actually get things clean (at least my insane definition of clean), but I was definitely surprised by how effective these cleaners are, especially the glass cleaner, which I swear works better than anything commercially available.  I love the fact that no only do they work incredibly well, but I don’t have to worry about spraying them near Zac because they are totally chemical free!  The fact that these cleaners cost FAR less to make than what I can purchase at the store is a huge bonus. 

Anti-bacterial All Purpose Cleaner:
1 Cup White Vinegar
6 Tablespoons Castile Soap (I used the Dr. Bonner’s brand)
30 Drops Tea Tree Oil

I mixed the first three ingredients into an empty Clorox Cleanup bottle and then filled it the rest of the way with water.  The vinegar smell dissipates very quickly and just leaves a clean smell.

Glass Cleaner:
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup Water
½ Cup Rubbing Alcohol
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dishwashing Detergent (use the original formula, blue kind only)

Mix everything into a reusable spray bottle and shake well.

You can find the formulas for more chemical free cleaners to make at home at my friend: Cat's blog.  I'll be testing out making my own laundry detergent this weekend, so I'll let you know how that went soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oy Vey!

Please excuse the sporadic updates…there are a ton of changes going on at work (and in the midst of Open Enrollment, no less) that are making it difficult for me to do anything other than work, sleep and occasionally eat – and generally, I’m thinking of work stuff while doing the eating and the sleeping.

It’s times like this when I have to continually remind myself that all this craziness is just a phase and eventually, things WILL calm down.  Unfortunately, it’s also times like this where I feel like I’m just half-assing my way through life.  My desk is a mess, my house is a mess, I desperately need to do some meal planning and go to the grocery store.  I’ve spent about 2 hours with Zac each night for the last week and a half, so I feel like I’m half-assing the whole parenting thing as well.  Don’t even get me started on how badly I need my hair colored and my eyebrows waxed. 

I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done, and by doing so, I’ve kind of set myself up for disaster.  The people in my life don’t think to ask what they can do to help or take initiative to do things that would be helpful, because, I’ve let them assume that I don’t need help and that I can work full time, run a household, raise a child, and have a life, without any outside assistance from anyone.  I need to work on either asking for help or accepting the fact that perhaps not every single thing is an urgent item on my to do list.  I also need to figure out just how to do that, exactly.

I’m hoping to get some time this weekend to do some general planning and organizing and hopefully get myself back on track.  I desperately need to carve out some time for myself and if I could possibly sleep for 12 straight hours, that would be awesome (although, I don’t see that one happening). 

Regular updates to resume next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A List of Things I Never Thought I'd Say....and Then I Had a Child

·           Why are you putting egg salad in your hair?
·           Do NOT blow your nose in Play-Dough.
·         Did you just lick the dog?
·         Who pooped in the bathtub?
·         You are NOT Sylvia Plath, so stop trying to climb into the oven!
·         Holy shit!  He’s armed himself with a steak knife from the dishwasher!  Put that down!!
·         Stop putting your granola bar down the front of your diaper.
·         Did you just eat a napkin?
·         Who threw my shoes, a pair of boxer shorts and the Windex into the bathtub?
·         It’s oatmeal, not a facial mask!
·         Your penis is NOT supposed to bend that way!
·         Please stop calling that large woman “daddy”.
·         Where the hell did you get cognac?
·         Stop blowing your nose on Yoda.
·         No, that’s not an elephant….those are tomatoes.
·         Did you put ANOTHER granola bar in your diaper?
·         Throw all the fits you want to, you’re still not allowed to put a bobby pin into an electrical socket!
·         Don’t hit your grandmother in the face with cymbals.
·         Dude!  Seriously…a day will come where you will wish you’d been nicer to your junk.
·         Get the crayon out of your nose.
·         Don’t put the crayon in MY nose, either.
·         The dog is going to bite you if you keep trying to shove a crayon in his butt.
·         Peanut butter does NOT go in your hair.
·         Where did your granola bar go?  Is it in your diaper again?  Goddamnit!
·         Apparently you CAN call Scotland if you just start dialing random numbers on the phone, but no, that man wasn’t your Daddy.
·         Stop shoving your toothbrush into your ear.
·         Did you just kick a duck?  That is NOT acceptable!
·         I’m never buying granola bars again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coffee & Profanity

As anyone who knows me “in real life” can attest, weird shit happens to me in Starbucks.   I once had a man tell me that I reminded him of his daughter while in a Starbucks, which, while totally irrelevant to my purchasing coffee, was nice, I guess.  Well, it was nice until his next sentence when he asked me out, because asking someone on a date because they remind you of your daughter should get you put right on Chris Hansen’s radar, except that I think “To Catch a Predator” is off the air now, so someone else is going to have to expose your predisposition towards incest, sir.

This morning was no exception to the Starbucks weirdness, although, to be honest, this incident probably had far more occurrences of the word “motherfucker” than all the other weird incidents that happen to me in Starbucks combined.  Also, most of those other incidents probably didn’t scar a small child for life, but that was totally her father’s fault and not mine.

I was standing in line at Starbucks, patiently (for me) waiting to order when, in my state of sleep deprivation (thanks, Zac) I dropped my purse and approximately 90 lip glosses rolled out and started fleeing to various corners of the store.  Upon realizing that I had basically spilled the contents of a Sephora all over a Starbucks, my (perfectly normal reaction) was to say “Shitballs Motherfucker!!”.  This is when things got weird because the man behind me took great offense to my choice of expletives.  I took great offense to the fact that he was wearing Rick Stantorum’s sweater vest and had dragged a small child out to a Starbucks at 5:45AM.  Does he not read?  Sweater vests are the work of Satan and small children need sleep damnit!  This is pretty much what followed:

Sweater Vest Dude: Miss, that language is inappropriate and isn’t permitted in public!

Me: A) stop calling me miss.  B) The first amendment says that it’s permitted.  It may not be APPROPRIATE, but it’s totally permitted.

SVD: That’s not the point.  I don’t want my daughter hearing that word.

Me: Well, it kind of is the point because you said it wasn’t permitted, but fine, which word don’t you want her hearing?  Shitballs or Motherfucker?

SVD: THE SECOND ONE!  Stop saying that in front of my daughter!

ME: So you’re okay with Shitballs, it’s just Motherfucker you have a problem with, right?

SVD:  What is WRONG with you?  Hayley…cover your ears!

Me: Science is still trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, but again, not the point. Do you have cable?

SVD: (who by now is turning purple): What? Cable?  Yes, why?

Me: Hayley is gonna hear way worse than Shitballs Motherfucker, then.  You may want to cancel your cable subscription.  Oh, and movies!  Definitely don’t let her go to movies!  I’m going to guess you’re not big hip hop fans, so you’re probably okay there.

SVD: Do you find this funny?

Me: Yeah, kind of.


Me: No, it really kind of is.

SVD: You are an awful person!

Me: Yeah, probably, but that fact really has very little to do with my propensity towards saying Shitballs Motherfucker.

At this point, Sweater Vest Dude sputtered something, grabbed little Hayley by the hand and stormed out of Starbucks, without his coffee.  He got to his car and had to turn around and come back in to get his coffee, and was extremely displeased to find me shaking my head and laughing.  Sweater Vest Dude then got into his Prius (because OF COURSE he drives a Prius) and left Starbucks.

Then I got my coffee for free because the dreadlocked barista found the entire exchange hilarious.

I really need to consider either not drinking coffee or not saying Shitballs Motherfucker, but if I do that, then the terrorists win and America is doomed, so I guess weird shit is just going to keep happening to me in Starbucks, because I couldn’t live with myself if that happened.  I’m just doing my bit for America through coffee and profanity.  You’re welcome.

One thing to keep in mind: I never actually yelled the words Shitballs Motherfucker when I dropped my purse, it was more like I muttered it to myself, so either this guy is with the profanity police or he has dog like hearing. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dueling Bio's

Nick and I are having a little disagreement.  You see, writes for an online food and lifestyle magazine and needs to come up with a bio for the site.  He wrote one, sent it to me to review and I promptly read it, rewrote it and sent the bio back to him.  He claims that my version is inappropriate, so I'll let you guys choose...which one would you pick?

Nick's Attempt:

Nick was born in Hong Kong, BCC and moved to the Houston area in 1981 and to The Woodlands/Spring area in 1986.  Currently Nick has a Foodie Website Dining Out With Nick – Houston and helps plan tasting events for the Woodlands/Spring, TX area Foodie Club on Facebook.  Nick is all about helping the small business owner and supporting his community.  He is the Chairman for the local Montgomery County charity group Hands Across Texas, dedicated to helping fellow Texans with unforeseen life changes and giving relief to those in need to help rebuild lives.  Nick’s love of food and support of local restaurants make him a great addition to Taste Magazine as a featured writer

My (much better) Attempt:

Nick was born in Hong Kong, a long time ago, before the Communists took over.  He moved to the Houston area in 1981 but decided that it was too civilized so he left the big city for the suburbs of Spring in 1986.  Upon graduating from McCullough High School, where he specialized in terrorizing Mrs. Emmons, the drunken English teacher who was totally asking for it, Nick left The Woodlands forever as he had been accepted to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.  However, Nick decided that he hated New York (probably because he’s not very bright) and decided NOT to go to the C.I.A., but rather to join the Army, so basically I lied to you when I said “Nick left The Woodlands forever”.  Sorry about that.   We refer to his time in the Army as “Nick: The Missing Year”, because obviously, joining the Army was a terrible idea that didn’t last very long.

Nick currently as a foodie website, “Dining Out With Nick – Houston” where he reviews locally owned restaurants.  He really likes food.  A lot.  Seriously, you have no idea how much he likes food, I mean, it’s truly amazing that the Jerry Springer Show hasn’t had to bust him out of the house by breaking down a wall and using a forklift to lift his 500 lb. butt out of what was once our bed.  His metabolism is very impressive.

Before taking any of Nick’s dining suggestions, you should keep in mind that he is often seen late at night eating Saltines and Butter on our couch.   Do you really think you should take food suggestions from someone like that?  Wouldn’t someone who snacked on foie gras or roasted thymus glands be more appropriate for fine dining recommendations? All I’m saying is that he didn’t go to the C.I.A when he could have and his snack foods are pretty much what our toddler would pick, so just be cautious when he tells you that something is “Delicious”, because it could just taste like a Saltine Cracker and some butter.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yes, I AM "Mom Enough".

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have no doubt heard about Time Magaznine’s cover showing 26 year old Jamie Lynne Grumet breast feeding her 3 year old son, with the caption “Are You Mom Enough” directly below them.  Um…excuse the hell out of me, Time Magazine, but have you lost your ever loving mind?

Here’s the thing: I don’t care how you feed your kid.  If your child is getting the appropriate nutrients and is healthy and thriving, then I don’t care if those nutrients come in the form of breast milk, formula, or unpasteurized yak milk, and neither should anyone else.  To imply that choosing one way of feeding my child over another makes me a better (or worse) mother is downright insulting.

Initially, I did breast feed Zac.  I made a personal decision that breast milk would provide him with the best nutrients and important antibodies during those first few months, and so I decided that breast feeding was the best option for us.  Unfortunately, my boobs disagreed with my decision and never quite produced enough milk for Zac to ever be truly “full”.  As a result there was a lot of screaming and crying (from both of us) and I averaged about 2-3 hours of sleep per night, mostly in 20 minute increments, since Zac was constantly waking up because he was still hungry.  When Zac was about three months old, I made the decision to switch him over to formula and it was the smartest thing I ever did.  Zac started gaining weight and we both started getting some sleep.  I did what was best for myself and my son, and yet Time Magazine would have you believe that I am somehow “less” of a mom because of it.

I work my ass off to be a good mom.  I make sure that Zac is well fed, that he’s intellectually stimulated, that he gets enough sleep and exercise and that his diet is as healthy as possible.  I make sure that he knows that he is loved beyond measure by his family.  I do my damndest to make sure that he’s happy, healthy and learning how to function as a responsible member of society.  I try to nurture his creative side and I take absolute joy in his personality (seriously…this kid is hilarious).  I teach him to be kind, to have good manners, to be respectful to others. Yet, Time Magazine would have you believe that because I chose not to breast feed my son, I’m somehow not a good mother?  I think the only appropriate response here is “Kiss my ass, Time Magazine”.

We live in a society where mothers who chose to breast feed in public are vilified.  Where a mother who chooses to have a seat in the common area of a mall and breast feed her child is meet with glares and snide comments of “I don’t need to see that, why can’t she do that in private?” Where a mother who dares to discreetly breast feed her infant at a restaurant is asked to either remove herself from the dining area while feeding her child or leave the restaurant, even though there are women in that same restaurant in low cut tops who are showing a hell of a lot more boob than she is.  And yet…we’re bad mothers if we chose not to breastfeed? 

So, let me get this straight….if we want to be good mothers then we have to breastfeed, but we can’t do it in public or anywhere other than our own homes, preferably sequestered in a closet somewhere near the back of the house, just so that no one can possibly see the actual act of breast feeding?  Do I have this right?

I am just so sick of these media perpetuated “Mommy Wars”.  Breast Feeding Mothers vs. Formula Feeding Mothers.  Working Mothers vs. Stay at Home Moms.  Homeschooling Mothers vs. Public School Moms.  It’s just absolutely ridiculous!  Why do we, as women fall for this every damn time and with every new “issue du jour”?  Were it not for some clueless, and let’s face it…probably male, media executive trying to create a controversy, would any of us ever give this a second thought?  Probably not.

 If your kids are happy, healthy, safe and well care for then you are “Mom Enough”.  Period.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

For Kala....

I want to take a moment to talk about a recent tragedy that has greatly affected our community. On Tuesday, April 17th, Kala Golden Schuchardt was going about her everyday life, doing what every mother in the world has done countless times, taking her infant son, Keegan, to the pediatrician’s office for a checkup. Once the appointment was over, she gathered up her precious boy, her purse, a diaper bag, a car seat, all the accessories of a new mommy, and headed out into the parking lot towards her truck.  She was probably wondering what she was going to cook for dinner, or what errands she had to run, or how lucky she was that her little boy was healthy and thriving.  Just a normal day.  A day that each of us, as parents, have had. 

When Kala got to her truck, she was confronted by a woman with whom she had never spoken before, never seen before; a woman she never knew existed.  That woman was 30 year old, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Verna McClain. 

Without warning, Verna McClain shot Kala several times in the chest, grabbed baby Keegan, and sped away from the site in a blue Lexus.  With her dying breath, with bullet holes in her chest, this amazing mother, daughter, wife and friend, pulled herself up and tried to chase after Verna McClain, while screaming for help. Screaming the same words over, and over again “My baby, my baby, my baby”.  Words that no mother ever wants to scream in desperation.  Words that no mother ever wants to scream in horror.  Words that no mother wants to scream in anguish, pain or panic.

The last words Kala spoke before she died were for her three day old son, Keegan.  They were a plea, a prayer, a hope, a desperate demand to God, The Universe, The Laws of Karma, to any and every deity, belief structure, or supernatural entity, that some way, somehow, against terrifying odds, that her baby boy would be okay.  She screamed for her son from the very depths of her soul….and then she died.

It started out as a normal day for Kala’s husband, Keith as well.  A normal day that every father and husband has had.  A day that he never, in the furthest regions of his imagination, thought would end in being told that his wife was dead and his son was missing.  He never thought that a seemingly normal day would end with a SWAT team looking for, and thankfully, finding his infant son.  He never thought his normal day would end by trying to explain to his children, his family, his in-laws, that the woman they all knew and loved was killed while trying to protect her baby boy.

The horror of this is almost too much to comprehend.  The thought that any one of us could be going about the minutia of everyday life, only to end up dead and our child missing because of the actions of someone we have never met, is just too much.  The thought that we could wake up one morning, go about our normal routine and then get a phone call that our spouse was dead and our child was’s just…..too much.

This time it isn’t just a blurb on a news program or a headline in the newspaper, it’s real, it has happened.  This time it happened in my community to people I know, and that hurts my heart in a way I didn’t expect.  How many times have we all heard stories like that and said “Oh, that’s terrible” and never given it a second thought?  Let’s start giving it a second thought
Hug your kids tighter.  Tell your family how much you love them.  Tell someone who has made an impact on your life that they matter to you.  Be a little kinder.  Be a quicker to forgive.  You never know when your normal day, or the normal day of someone in your community is about to go horribly, tragically, wrong.

Keegan, I hope you will always know that your momma fought like hell for you.  Keith, I hope that you’ll eventually find peace.  Kala, I’m sorrier that I can ever say that this happened to you.  I didn’t know you personally, but you didn’t deserve this.  No one does.

If you’d like to make a donation to The Schuchardt family, you can do so by clicking going to: sHands Across Texas - Schuchard Family Benefit.  Hands Across Texas is a group that my husband and friends from our community work with, so I can vouch for the legitimacy of this charity and assure you that ALL donations will be going to the Schuchardt family.  We will also be hosting a benfit concert for the Schuchard’s.  I will post more details on that as I get them, but if you would like to volunteer your time, or items for the auction, that will happen at the concert, please feel free to contact me at cmatievic @