Cleaning with Kombucha Vinegar

The cleanest my floors have ever been

Tea Tree Oil and Kombucha Vinegar

Tea Tree Oil and Kombucha Vinegar

They feel totally different under my bare feet. Squeaky squeaky clean. Wow. 48 hours later, wow.

I was ready to mop and didn’t realize that I’d run out of vinegar. I had heard that if your kombucha had ever gotten too ripe and had turned to vinegar, that you could use it to clean your house or anything else you would clean with vinegar. So months ago, when a batch had gotten too far gone, I put it away and kept it. Day before yesterday I bravely gave it a try – about two dark brown cups of super old, scary kombucha to half a bucket of water. I also added 20 drops of tea tree oil, one of my favorite essential oils, to help disinfect and add fragrance.

The results are unbelievable.

This makes me want my kombucha to get a little too ripe. I’m excited. Wow is all I have to say.

Funny thing is, 30 minutes later I found my gallon of commercial white vinegar. It had gotten put away in the wrong place. I am so grateful for these serendipitous times in life. Wow. I won’t be going back.

The 10 Day no cell phone check challenge

no phone 2My latest massive inspiration comes from a blog called Hands Free Mama. A couple of years ago, Rachel took it upon herself to not be attached to her phone. She has written a couple of very inspiring and self-exposing posts about how to miss a childhood or about the day she stopped saying ‘Hurry Up’You can easily miss a childhood by being a slave to your phone or by constantly being “in a hurry”. They will only be little once, and for a very short time.

Just after I read her article, I went in to be with my 3 year old. He wanted to put raisins on the bed and pretend to be a chicken eating them by pecking them up with his “beak.” I helped him spread the fruit out on the sheet and just after he started to peck them up and grin at me after each raisin, I felt the urge to reach for my phone to check. In that instant, I realized that I too, most definitely have the screen and news addiction that I so long for my children to refrain from. Uggh. Yuck. I check my phone God knows how many times a day. And who needs to check in on current events more than once a day? Really.

For the next ten days, I vow to check my phone only once – after the children have gone to bed

Will I miss something? Yes. Will it  matter? Probably not. I’ll have the phone on for if it rings or if I get a text. I honestly don’t receive too many calls or texts in a day, and when I do, it usually is of some importance.  If I hear the email alert, I will ignore it. I don’t really facebook, but I do check Twitter from time to time, so this too will I slough off. No checking Twitter until after bedtime. This goes for in the car as well. If I’m checking emails or texting at red lights, what is that saying to my children? We could be having conversation, and enjoying this time together, but I’d rather check in with my addiction. Also, they will remember what I do when it conflicts with what I say. When they are teenagers out there driving, I really hope they won’t be a slave to their handhelds. It also means I’m not going to be checking email or news on my computer when I’m home during the day either. So here I go. I’m hoping 10 days will turn into forever. I’ll let you know how it goes. First, I have to go tell my family. Anyone want to give it a try with me?

Natural Lemonade that’s good for you

A tasty treat the kids (and adults) will love

You don’t need no stinkin’ GMO high fructose corn syrup or sugar in your lemonade. GMOs, high fructose corn syrup and sugar, which are in almost all commercial lemonades, are bad for human consumption. This summertime treat can be made from lemon juice and maple syrup, which are very good for us, and kids love it! I made this yesterday for a passel of kids and several made the comment that it’s the best they’ve ever had.

This recipe is also the basis for the Master Cleanse which adds cayenne pepper and voila, if you’re willing to fast and drink this concoction, you’ll jump-start your liver, kidneys and any weight regimen you might want to follow this summer.

Natural Lemonade Recipe:

1 quart of purified water

3/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)

1/4 cup of maple syrup (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP w/ high fructose corn syrup!!!)

You can play with the recipe a bit. If you like it sourer or sweeter, it’s up to you. You can also make a glass at a time by adding 2-3 table spoons of lemon juice and up to a table spoon of maple syrup and getting the right mix. Drinking this first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start and clean out your system. And it’s super yummy to boot.


Community for those with Disabilities, as for all of us, is part of Natural Living

It’s only natural to know our neighbors

But how many of us actually do? Those of us who make an effort to know our neighbors gain in untold ways.

My friends and neighbors sat around outside a few evenings ago making music. The children played fiddles, guitars, and drums along with us. One of our friends was moved to tears, saying how much it meant to him to see that people still do this. Community feeds our souls.

Community, for all of us, is part of natural living. We can’t escape it, nor should we. It’s part of the rich fabric of our lives. Community feeds us, teaches us, and makes us grow. This story is from yet another perspective when it comes to community.

Cerebral Palsy – my friend Stephanie, her life and her inspiration

My friend, Stephanie, really has no idea how inspiring she is. When I met her last year I was awestruck. This fabulous woman has gotten her degree, taking special transportation to her university, attended classes, and written papers, when mobility and verbal communication are both chores by any measure. She then made the decision to give living alone a go. Her mother, who had been her caregiver for nearly 40 years, needed to move into a care facility herself, and Stephanie had to make a decision. She had never lived on her own. For Stephanie, just walking and talking takes great effort – in my eyes. But in hers, it’s just how it is. Effort is her normal. When I’m around Stephanie and her positive attitude, I am so uplifted. Our lives are what we make them.

Stephanie is a writer who in the process of publishing her memoir and offered to write a guest post for I am honored to host her writing. She is not only an inspiration to those she meets, but to anyone living with a disability.

The Natural Beauty of Living in a Community

by Stephanie Torreno

When Betsy invited me to write a guest post, I thought about her umbrella of natural living and how the topic applies to my life. A perfect aspect of natural living to share with readers entered to mind.  This aspect involves how I came to know Betsy, and more specifically, how I came to know, love, and rely on her in-laws as family.

After moving to our townhome nine years ago, my mother and I became acquainted with our neighbors.  In a row of adjoining townhomes, getting to know one another becomes easy.  Still, with Betsy’s inlaws three units from ours, we didn’t meet them right away.  At least I didn’t.  I first met Jane at a holiday gathering next door.  As my mom and I met more of our community members, our mostly female neighbors began meeting for lunch.  Soon, the small group formed a birthday club, inviting two husbands to join in celebrating a neighbor’s birthday by going out to dinner and enjoying cake and ice cream afterward at someone’s home.  I don’t remember joining the first few celebrations as I thought my mom deserved some social time without me – her adult daughter with cerebral palsy.

Mom convinced me to join the birthday bunch.  While I enjoyed the time with all six neighbors, I felt a special connection to Jane and Adam.  Jane and I knew some of the same people through her work and my studies at a Christian university.  Adam and I liked talking and laughing together.  Most of all, Jane and Adam became great friends with me as a person first, while learning about my disabilities and understanding the difficulties I have and the help I need.

Life changes

Almost three years ago, my mom’s life changed following a stroke and subsequent setbacks.  My life changed, too.  Following two moves with Mom, and several heart-wrenching and complicated decisions, I chose to move back to our townhouse – alone.  I sought Jane and Adam’s approval before committing to my decision. I knew I required physical and emotional support, no matter how independent I tried to become, as I attempted to live by myself for the first time.  Jane and Adam supported my decision and welcomed me back with open arms and hearts.

Employed people with disabilities often receive “natural supports” at the workplace, such as job training from coworkers or ongoing mentoring from fellow employees.  Although I am not traditionally employed and write from home, I consider Jane and Adam my “natural supports” at home.  While I receive daily assistance from caregivers, Jane and Adam continue to show me the necessity and importance of community.  My wonderful neighbors, friends, and surrogate parents drive me to appointments, accompany me to medical visits, and provide assistance when I need it.  J-Mom and A-Dad, as I often call them, include me in worship activities and family gatherings, where I met and became friends with Betsy.  Betsy’s in-laws demonstrate the power of community to me each day.  This sense of community, for which I am grateful, seems only natural to me.  

Stephanie Torreno’s writing has recently been featured in the book OMG That Woman, available on Amazon.

You can also see her six-word-memoirs here.