Tips for a Gratitude Journal

I know it is a good practice to keep a gratitude journal, but…
1) I don’t keep up with it,
2) all my entries are the same,
3) I feel silly,
4) I don’t want anyone to ever find it,
etc. etc, etc…

For all the above reasons I have never been a journal writer. Each year I start out keeping a journal, then by mid-February our so, I rip out the pages (because I feel silly and I don’t want them top be read) and repurpose the book! I often think that if I went out and bought a nice notebook for my journal that might make a difference, but no, it doesn’t!

However I just read a great post about how to make a gratitude journal something from the heart not just from the head, and I wanted to share the link so you can take advantage of these tips too.

I don’t know if I will act on these ideas our not, but perhaps you will, and you will have a long and fruitful journaling experience. Let me know!

Back to My Blog!

Hello my friends, I’m afraid I’ve been out of touch for a while.  I have all sorts of excuses — cold and snow, vacation, work, and now Spring Fever has hit!

But while I haven’t been writing, I have been working on my blog.  I had a little trouble there with my mobile site, but after a lot of work with technical support, it is now up and running.  I’ve also been playing around with the look of the blog and I think I’ve settled on a final look and feel, what do you think?


Non-Toxic Cleaning with Vinegar and Essential Oils

I’m really trying to use more natural (less chemical) products for my skin, makeup and even household cleansers.  Unfortunately, the non-toxic household products are really expensive.  It turns out that regular white vinegar is not only inexpensive, but is a great cleaning agent. It is especially effective in combating dirt and bacteria.

 Non toxic Cleaning with Vinegar and Essential Oils

Here are some easy “recipes” I found for cleaning with vinegar on the Vinegar Institute’s website

No-wax floors: ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.  As for hardwood floors, there is some debate as to whether or not vinegar cleans without damaging the finish.  Its best to test in an inconspicuous spot before tackling the whole floor.

Carpet stain removal: Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water.  Apply it to the stain and rub gently. Rinse with a clean, moist towel and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. 

Windows: Mix equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.

Coffee makers: Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished.  I like to brew several pots (or cups in the case of a Keurig), of plain water to make sure all of the vinegar is gone. 

Microwave: Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Wipe clean.

Deodorize the kitchen drain: Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.

Refrigerator: Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Wood cutting boards:Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Stainless Steel Appliances: Wipe with vinegar and a soft cloth — Best to test on a small out of the way spot first.

In the Dishwasher: Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap.  Wash as usual for cleaner dishes and glasses. 

Bathtub film: Wipe tub with white vinegar and then with baking soda. Rinse clean with water.

Unclog a drain: Pour some boiling water down the drain first.  Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar — cover with a damp towel immediately to keep the fizzing in the drain!  Let sit for 5 minutes then rinse with very hot water.

Shower doors: Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.

Toilet bowl cleaner: Brush stubborn stains with vinegar, then add 3 cups of white vinegar to bowl. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.

However, there are some places we shouldn’t use vinegar:

Natural stone counter tops and floors: The acidity in vinegar is NOT good for natural stone.  It is best to clean these surfaces with dish soap and water.

Irons: Again, the acidity isn’t good for the internal parts of an iron.  To keep the iron clean, it is best to empty it after each use.


Now if the smell of the vinegar solution isn’t exactly what you want your house to smell like, you can add some essential oils.  Essential oils can be antiseptic, anti bacterial, anti fungicidal, anti microbial and can also help you sleep better, improve your mood, enhance your energy

Lavender is not only relaxing, it is antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungicidal.

Lemon is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial, and has also been shown to actually improve people’s moods .

Peppermint  has antiseptic properties and can also improve alertness and enhance work performance.

Orange is antiseptic and has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is also a great degreaser.

Tea Tree Oil is a powerful cleaning agent.  It is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and an insecticidal.  Some studies have shown antibacterial actions and its promise in inhibiting certain flu viruses, combating Staph infections, and even treating the herpes simplex virus. Tea tree is also recommended for stimulating the immune system and in the treatment of respiratory conditions

Source: Green Cleaning


So grab the white vinegar and some essential oils and enjoy a clean, no-toxic home!


Short Winter Days

Now that the days are getting very short and night falls very early.  I find that I get anxious as it gets dark.  Today (December 4), the sun will set at 4:11 pm in New Hampshire.  Granted it isn’t dark until 4:30, but this is awfully early!

Sunset at Great Bay Narina

I will be sitting at my desk working away and as the sky gets darker and darker, I can feel my heart rate quickening, my breathing getting shallow, and a general air of tension in my being.

This isn’t anything new, it happens every year.  It’s funny, but 5:00 pm seems very, very late at this time of year, while in the summer 8:00 pm is still early!

I try to reassure myself that it is indeed early, and that I still have 5 or 6 hours before bedtime, but I still feel anxious in the late afternoons.

Oh well I guess I will just have to endure the darkness until the days start getting longer on December 21!


December Greetings

I thought this was a wonderful sentiment for the season.


Christmas Tree