Category: Cleanup

Meet Me At The Fish Tank

That is Ladybug inside the kid friendly aquarium at SeaLife back in 2009. When we first moved to SoCal, one of our favorite places to take our (then young) kids was the aquarium. We must have gone there 100 times, but I must admit it wasn’t an easy thing to share with small kids. All that lifting and fighting the crowds. it is a wonderful place, but not all that kid friendly. The first time Mr. Vixen and I took the girls to SeaLife Aquarium we were so thrilled! It is so perfect for even the smallest toddler.  We are taking the girl’s again tomorrow, combining some fun with one of my personal crusades (some of you might remember my adventure in public service with I Love A Clean San Diego back in 2008) and I wanted to share the info in case you wanted to join in the fun.

Looking for something fun and educational to do with your kid’s tomorrow? This Saturday is Underwater Parks Day, with kid-friendly activities designed to raise awareness of the newly designated “Underwater Parks” or Marine Protected Areas. Guests will have a chance to create a personalized take-home habitat, add to the Happy Habitat Mural inside the Aquarium and visit a mini Conservation Expo with hands-on exhibits to learn how their family can get involved in caring for our ocean locally.

New to this year’s festival, families will gain a better understanding of what an Underwater Park is during The Daily Dive show at 11 a.m. in SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium’s Shipwreck Gallery.  Using an underwater communication mask, a diver will give a child-friendly presentation about these special areas from inside the Lost City of Atlantis, the Aquarium’s 200,000 gallon ocean display. 

Underwater Parks Day at SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and all activities are included in the cost of Aquarium admission – $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $13 for kids 3 to 12. For more information on SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium visit www.sealifeus.com.

Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find

Some time ago I was approached by ecoSTOREUSA to review two of their products, here is a snippet:

I may not be a mother, wife, or a blogger, but if there’s anything that I know for sure- it’s that you, like me have people in your life that you love.
One way I prove my love to these people is by reducing the amount of chemicals that they come in contact to. This is why I represent www.ecostoreusa.com. An extension of a 20 year old New Zealand company www.ecostore.co.nz that makes affordable plant based, non-toxic Household Cleaning, Baby and Personal Care Products that contain No Nasty Chemicals™.
·Now, more than ever, we believe that the voice of the Mom Blogger, relative to the health of her family and the planet, coincide with the Ecostore mission. Word of mouth marketing and listening to the consumer – that’s us!
·The Founder was a stay at home dad living in an eco-village.
·We offer free shipping on orders over $25 and you can find us at Meijer and Duane Reade stores.

Already having two young grandchildren running around in the house and knowing that when RolyPoly’s mom would return to work we would be tending him several days of the week, I was excited to pick and try two products that would be safer to use around the house for them and for my little chihuahuas (which are just like little people: low to the ground, everything goes in their mouth and they need care, lol).

I chose the All Purpose Cleaner and the Laundry Powder. I found both products to exceed most of my expectations. The citrus-based all purpose cleaner has such a pleasant scent, that it was love at first sniff. But the truly amazing result I found was that after cleaning my counter tops daily with a regular cleanser; the first time I used this new spray my rag came away filthy! There was so much build up on the counters that I wasn’t seeing, I was a bit grossed out by what I saw. My “clean” counters hadn’t really been clean at all until I tried this product. I am actually on my second bottle. I use it every where in the house, from the kitchen to the outside screen room. It gets off every single thing my family has thrown at me; from markers to exploded soda on the walls (that dried because no one told me about said explosion). This is my favorite product ever. I have a steam cleaner for the floors, but for stubborn spills I spray a little on the spots before I steam clean and feel safe having small ones crawl around without worries of nasty chemicals getting on their hands and feet!

The laundry detergent impressed me with it’s value. Due to it’s concentrated form, I use a lot less detergent each load and my clothes come out just as clean. And now that RolyPoly is here (and doing the usual baby thing of having an accident or four a day) I have had to do his laundry quite often. I feel so much more confident doing his laundry with a soap that is plant based and contains no nasty chemicals. The powder has virtually no scent, so I will be perfectly honest in my review and tell you that my youngest (19) daughter (the Queen of all things must smell really, really good-including laundry soap) was not impressed. She now buys her own to use, which works in my benefit two ways A) I save money and B) My husband’s skin tends to react to laundry detergent with lots of perfumes in it. So win/win for me. Seriously, you only need to use a small amount of this detergent and you get clean clothes! What a money saver and it is planet friendly.

Now that Presto is here, being such a preemie, I know that when he finally gets to come home he will have some special needs. I am heading over to the Baby section of this great store to find some products for his family as part of their baby shower gift (okay, he actually arrived just before the baby shower so we had to cancel, but we are planning a ‘baby arrival’ party instead).

You can find ecoSTORE on Twitter and Facebook

Disclaimer: ecoSTORE provided me the above products for free to review. All opinions are 100% mine and I did not receive any other compensation for providing this review.

Adventures In Public Service

Would you like to participate or find out more about Self Portrait Saturdays? Click here!

Here I am starting off on my adventure cleaning up. I look so happy. And positive. Below is my story.Photobucket

9:00am – Arrive at check in. Receive garbage bags, recycle bags, sweet orange vest, latex gloves, and long grabber thingy. Safety orientation: Don’t touch anything dangerous, watch for snakes, stay hydrated and picture tutorial on what poison oak looks like.

9:05am – Outfitted. Ready to go. Let’s go off alone, pick up garbage and take pictures. Planet saver, that is what I am.

9:10am – It’s warm out. Very little garbage. Lots of pictures.

9:15am – Damn. MP3 player battery died. Who the hell forgot the batteries for that in the car? Too bad extra camera batteries don’t fit. It’s ok. Quiet is good.

9:30am – Man it’s quiet out here. And warm. Why am I talking to myself?

9:45am – Lots of flower pictures. Hey look at that obscure trail. There is probably all kinds of garbage down there. Don’t see any of the other kids around. Kinda getting warm out here.

10:07am – Finding a lot of animal waste/droppings on this trail. No dogs allowed so what could it be? Mountain lion? Oh dear! What if it’s hungry? Can I stab it in the eye with the grabber thingy? Jeez it’s hot.

10:30am – End of trail. Crap, no way out. Who the hell decided I should walk alone? Where is everyone? Where am I? Hell? It’s hot enough.

10:37am – That shortcut ended. Must backtrack. Damn it’s hot.

10:42am – Made wrong turn. Dead end. Should have asked for a map. Back tracking. HOT.

10:50am – I am not going to make it. HOT. HOT. What was that noise in the bushes?

10:52am – Thank heavens. Shady spot in road. Sitting down in middle of road. Finishing last of water. HOT. HOT. HOT.

11:05am – It wasn’t this far out here. Hey, there is a car! Wave. I will just ask for a ride back. Too HOT.

11:06am – Hey, come back! Don’t just wave. I am dying. Thirsty and HOT.

11:15am – What idiot left the extra water bottles in the car!?!?! More rustling in the bushes. Can a person drink rattlesnake blood?

11:24am – Another shady spot in the road. Chest is starting to hurt. Do I have asthma? Wonder how long until they miss me.

11:26am – Can’t call for help. Same idiot left the cell phone in the car. Left arm has a bright red spot where there is no sunscreen. Feels like fire.

11:38am – Shady, grassy, picnic area!!!! Bench!!! BUGS love sweat. Hey, look a candy wrapper.

11:48am – Where the hell do you think you are going? Sit back down. Don’t move. Eventually a park ranger will find you. How can he miss this horrid orange vest?

12:01pm – Free t-shirt??? No I need an ambulance please.
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I had a nice hike. I didn’t get much garbage, but some and that is what counts right? It was 90 degrees today. What idiot ordered that weather?

I can’t hear you?!?!?!?

Read the post below this one. Watch this video of our street and help me write the best little note EVAH. You can do it. I believe in all of you.

I need more brains

Hi everyone! Hope you are having a great day! You are all so wonderful and sweet!

Have I buttered you up enough yet? Because I want something from you. Remember how the only lame thing I could come up with for my neighbors who lost their homes was cookies? Well the brilliant and talented Nannygoat came up with something even better. She was watching them bulldoze the house across the street from her and she thought, oh how sad they lost all their pictures. And then boom an idea hit her.

We are thinking we will go get a bunch of new photo albums and give them to them with a note kinda like this:

To our neighbors:
We commend your strength through this tough time. We wanted to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Here is a blank photo album, for you to start fresh.

Here’s to new memories and great times from here on out. Wishing you all the best.

The XXXXs,
Formerly at 17XXX.

Here is where you come in: This sounds like a great idea to me, but what do you think? Also can anyone who writes prettier prose than us help us with the note?

Thanks in advance!

Going Where Few Dare To Go

So, I did it. I went to the old house. Parked across the street. Talked with some neighbors. Their house was spared, but their sister’s home around the corner was not. They had spent the day sifting through rubble and found her wedding ring. The ring part was melted, but she could clearly see the diamonds. The neighbor I wanted to see most, who hugged me and cried the day I moved, was not home.  Her house was spared and I had seen that before, but things are so messy there so I guess she is staying somewhere else. Someone had put a giant sifter, a new shovel, a new rake and a bucket in the yard of the house. Red Cross volunteers and paramedics stopped to ask if we needed masks, water or chapstick. It was quite strange standing in the backyard looking into my kitchen with the lovely pass-through window. The twisty tree in the front yard I always called “the twisty love tree” to my husband is burned and injured beyond saving. It was easier and harder than I thought it would be. Surreal, I guess. I want to take them all homemade cookies.

I am guessing I am going to be doing a lot of baking in the next week.

Thank God or Gods or Rain Gods or Allah or Whoever

Last night when I went to sleep, it was clear and cold. I was so relieved. I slept hard and actually woke up in the middle of a dream about the sky being bright blue and taking pictures for my 365 Project. As I walked out of the bedroom, I instantly knew it was all a dream. My place smelled of a thick, heavy woodsmoke worse than the day we were evacuated. Mr. Vixen was in the kitchen getting coffee and I said WTH? He said, don’t go outside. I did anyway. The smoke was thicker than at any time during this entire ordeal. Cousin It went to town to get a mask for his daughter, Krackers. All day the helicoptors passed back and forth above our house with full buckets of water. I called Nannygoat to tell her we could not carve pumpkins here tonight because the air quality was too bad for the babies.

Then God smiled on me. He sent some gray clouds my way from the ocean. This blew some smoke away. Nannygoat came up with the babies and Ladybug got on the trampoline. And it started raining. RAIN. Not hard, not a lot. But RAIN.

I think its going to be ok. I think I might have some kind of post traumatic stress disorder because I couldn’t force myself to leave the property today to go to the store for food (we had none), but I feel so hopeful right now. Never in my life has rain smelled so good.

I just need to do this

Those of you who have been reading know that we just moved a few months ago from a house we lived in for 10 years. I did a post about it here where I talked about our times and memories there. My son, Macdougal, did a lovely video montage using only pictures taken in that house at the same time. In the video are a few of the kids friends who also live in that neighborhood. Thanks and praise to God, that their homes were all saved, unlike the other 24 on our street. I want to share with you all the lovely video. Also Nannygoat, Bear, Macdougal, Mr.Vixen, Lloyd and Fishboy went over to the old house yesterday to see for themselves and to hug our friends. I wanted to see, but I did not want to do it in person yet. I know we are very lucky that we had moved and all our stuff was not on there. We did not lose everything like so many hundreds did. But I am moved and saddened. During the fires four years ago, we also evacuated and we did not get anything out but the house stood and sheltered us for another four years (in fact four years ago today those fires started-or yesterday, I am not sure what day it is yet). I pray for all the victims of this tragedy and my heart goes out to them. Please click The Good Times Are Killing Me link below and see what a great time that home gave us. (Thanks to Nannygoat for the picture work and to Macdougal for having made the video)

The Good Times Are Killing Me

All the pictures in that video were taken in our home (or in the backyard/front)
Here is it before:
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And after:

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where the fish pond used to be out back

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oven

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railing into dining room

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Home Smelly Home

We are home at our house. We got here about 7:30pm last evening. I was exhausted. We are spending the morning unpacking and cleaning up the mess while giant water carrying helicopters launch from a nearby staging area. Still battling the blazes.

I had thought I would sleep better, but ever fews hours my brain starting screaming in my head that my nose was smelling smoke. Then I had to get up and verify that everything just smells like smoke in the house and that it is not new smoke.

I will start working on the epic that was our journey, complete with many, many pictures.  After I do 700 loads of laundry and vacuum and sweep and rake and…..

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