Sunday, March 02, 2014

My blog resurrected.

When I started this blog in 2009 I had every intention of filling it with funny stories of my crazy life as well as sharing my many interests. Then I met with my biggest challenge, a Tepper MBA. More specifically my husband starting a Tepper MBA. Caring for our two young daughters in the apartment from hell was as challenging to me as going through chemotherapy. Frankly it was the hardest thing I have gone through besides chemotherapy. After graduation came a wirlwind of moving across the U.S. over a two year period in the Eaton GLDP program. We bought a house, and I actually thought life would settle down. Of course, that is when it all went down the drain. We decided to start remodeling right when we moved in. A challenge but definitely manageable as long as life isn't too crazy. Of course, life got crazy. One month after moving in my mom found a lump in her arm pit. I flipped out. I seriously prayed that it was breast cancer not melanoma skin cancer. She had it when I was a teenager. I had seen what happened to people stage two or more with Melanoma when I was in chemo. They died quickly and painfully. One month later came the diagnosis of stage 4 melanoma. I began researching for new treatments and doctors in Las Vegas. In the end we got my mother treated by Dr. Samlowski. He extended her life four months longer then she would have had if she had stayed with her previous two oncologists. The use of an amazing new drug Zelboraf shrunk her tumors in days with no side effects. Unfortunately it eventually stops working. It was 8 months from finding the lump to her death on December 3, 2013. I miss her deeply. Marius from Les Miserable said it best, " There's a grief that can't be spoken". After her death I quickly finished an anatomy and physiology online course I was taking. I loved the course and took it in prep to start nursing school in the fall. The knowledge I gained in that class combined with my experiences with cancer led me to look for alternatives in improving our health. Once again, I will hope my life is settling down. I am going to resurrect my blog, post my funny life stories, decorating projects and makeup tips, but with the addition of homemade personal hygiene and cleaning recipes. I have experimented with different recipes I have found online and find these recipes to be by far the best. If any of you have one you like more or a recipe for a product that is missing, please share. Even if you are not as worried about chemicals in products as I am, I challenge you to try just one DIY product. There is a great sense of accomplishment making something yourself you never thought you could, and personalizing it to your liking. Try making your own body wash with your favorite scented essential oil. Take a bath and enjoy your creation. I promise, you will love it. Enjoy!


Creamy body wash/hand soap/ and even kids shampoo


What you will need:

1/2 cup coconut milk (in a can NOT coconut milk drinking beverage)
2/3 cup Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap (you can use a different scent like mint which really wakes your bits up in the morning)
5 drops of Essential Oil (I use tea tree, for antibacterial and antifungal reasons, but some may prefer Lavender)
2 tsp. Vegetable Glycerin (this is the secret to suds and can be a source of additional scents you want to add)
              I mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, and then add the glycerin after it has been melted in a cup in the microwave. It only takes seconds to melt glycerin. Use liquid if you can find it. Add immediately to mixture and mix well. I then put it into a glass mason jar and store it in the refrigerator.  I only put a weeks worth of soap into pump bottles in the bathroom and kitchen, since coconut milk can start to turn if left out for weeks. I make a triple batch and just refill my bottles as needed. LOVE it! My skin is so soft. I use it on my children and their hair feels amazing. Enjoy!

Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 c. warm water
Just mix and go!
Kitchen disinfectant cleaner
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons dish detergent
  • 1 liter (4 cups) of hot water
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol
Sprinkle baking soda on really dirty surfaces and use cleaner to make a scrubbing paste. Let sit and simply wipe clean. My oven surfaces have never looked cleaner. I saw hard water stains removed from sink surfaces that store bought products couldn’t remove. Love this combo.
Multipurpose Bathroom Disinfectant Cleaner
Here’s a good all-purpose disinfectant that is as easy to use and effective as any commercial bathroom cleaner but much less expensive.
  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 cups very hot water
  • 1 clean 24-ounce spray bottle
1. Combine the borax, washing soda, lemon juice, and vinegar in the spray bottle.
2. Slowly add the hot water, and then vigorously shake the bottle until the powdered ingredients have dissolved. Shake the bottle before each use.
3. Spray on tile and ceramic surfaces and wipe with a damp, clean cloth.

Laundry detergent
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 bar laundry bar (Felthsnap or Dr. Bronners bar soap)
Grate laundry bar soap with cheese grater. Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and enjoy the results! Store in a sealed container with a small scoop.
To Use
Use 1 Tbsp per load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads). Vinegar can be used as a rinse agent.
There is also a recipe to turn this into a liquid detergent. Either can be used in a front load washer.
Dishwasher Detergent Recipe
·                   1 cup borax
·                   1 cup washing soda
·                   1/2 cup citric acid
·                   1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)
Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).
Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent. Feel free to double the batch, or multiply to create any amount you’d like. Allow to sit overnight open to allow citric acid to dry out a bit to prevent clumping of mixture. Some recommend just adding it separately to washer and not in detergent to prevent clumping of mixture. Can also be turned to cubes. That recipe to follow….
Additional cleaning…
Murphy’s oil soap is not only an excellent natural cleaner for wood floors but also for leather and vinyl furniture, It is a natural degreaser for oil based stains in laundry and in the kitchen. Read the back panel for all of its uses.
Baking Soda!!!! This stuff is amazing! I use it in place of comet, toilet bowel cleaner, oven cleaner, hard water stain cleaner, carpet deodorizer, smell absorber, etc. Buy it in bulk and put it in a container it can be sprinkled with. I have seen a parmesan cheese container used, but prefer my cute refurbed cookie container. I keep my cooking baking soda separate from my cleaning.
As you can see the same ingredients are used in multiple products. I recommend buying in bulk. I find all items at Wal-Mart or my higher end grocery store. Citric acid is the only product that needs to be bought online. Be sure that you are buying basic ingredients. For example, Dr. Bonners has Castile hand soap is not the same as Dr. Bronners castile soap. Same for coconut milk in a can and coconut milk in beverage form. Basically, you are getting a lot more ingredients than what the recipe calls for.  Fill free to personalize recipes to your liking. Just be careful not to mix ingredients that may conflict or be dangerous in cleaning products. You may notice a lot of products not listed above like dryer sheets and lotion. That is because I decided to stop using these products altogether. Haven’t missed them at all. Less is more sometimes. I still use store bought toothpaste, deodorant and adult shampoo, but only natural brands. I recommend Jason’s toothpaste and deodorant. Please fill free to add any of your favorite homemade recipes.
Have Fun!




Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Hello Family and Friends Once again my favorite time of year is here. Yes I love Halloween more than Christmas. I think that I will have to answer for that one in the here after. Regardless, I love all that fall and Halloween bring. The pumpkin patches, apple picking, fall leaves,costumes, scary movies, trick or treating, and candy. This year we find ourselves in Portlans Oregan. We will have my parents and two younger sisters visiting this year for Halloween, which is a first. It is a tradition in our little family that everyone dresses up in a family theme. We will have to try and incorporate my extended family somehow. Ava is now 6 and a half and in first grade. She loves it. She is taking gymnastics and loving it too. Katrina is 3 going on 16. She is just as energetic as her sister, but much more shy. She is not in preschoolyet, but we are very busy regardless. She is taking ballet, music and many a playdate. She gets so shy sometimes. It is pretty cute. Very different from the super social, talk to everyone, Ava Kruse. Savanna is 1 now and quite a spite fire little girl. She is very sweet, and funny. She is able to express such a range of emotion without speaking. The three of them are my life, and I spend much of my time running from one activity to the next with them. I love it. Outside of that, I am enjoying taking my prenursing Human anatomy class online, and running with some friends from the ward. Dan is enjoying a much easier schedule, and works from home when possible. It is great having him with us more. Happy Halloween and enjoy the beautiful fall weather! ---

Saturday, January 07, 2012

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet home Mississippi!

Happy 4th of July ya'll! Sorry it has been so long since my last post, but we have been so busy. Here is what we have been up to.
    After a wonderful Christmas in California, we laid low for a while, focusing on Dan getting his last semester of graduate school done. In the spring we decided to take a vacation to visit Dan's brother John and his family in Utah. It was a fun and eventful two weeks. We went to a BYU basketball game, senior night no less, and saw Jimmer play. It was a blast. To my disappointment, Elon my sister in law, who was very pregnant, did not go into labor while I was there. The cousins had a fun time together and got to celebrate Austin's 2nd Birthday with him.
    After that trip we squeezed in a trip to South Beach Florida with the the other members of the McGowan Fellowship. It was really beautiful there, and we loved getting to know the other Fellows and their spouses. It was fun to let loose and go dancing with the group in the evening, eat amazing cuban food during the day, and lounge on white sand beaches the rest of the time.
    Soon after returning home we received the news that we would be moving to Brandon Mississippi for Dan's first rotation location. I quickly found a home and we prepared for our move. At the end of April, Dan finished his program. We decided to leave Pittsburgh before his graduation ceremony since it was two weeks later. Dan was anxious to begin his vacation in the south! Despite his wishes, I threw him a surprise graduation party. He finished at the top of his class. We are very proud of him. 
      On our drive to Miss, we went through Kentucky, Tenn, Alabama, and finally entered Mississippi. What a beautiful part of the country. In true Kruse form we only listened to country music the whole way down to prepare for our new southern lifestyle. We ate southern food, and explained to Ava why everyone "talked funny". We drove through Tornado ravaged Alabama and taught Ava a valuable lesson, "stuff doesn't matter, only people". She got it loud and clear as we toured the hardest hit areas where entire neighborhoods were leveled. After arriving in Miss, Dan joined a group of men and traveled back to Alabama to help in the tornado clean up. It was a good way to start off our first time being in a brand new house. It is a pretty big change going from a 100 year old two bedroom apartment (literally) to a 100 year newer three bedroom home. I ran screaming with joy through the house when we got there. Just having a washer and dryer made my year! The girls love our fenced in backyard, and so do I:) We enjoy riding bikes through our neighborhood, playing in the kiddie pool, and visiting the YMCA as a family.
    Since Dan had almost two months till he started work, we decided to go on a celebratory cruise. Dan found an amazing deal for the whole family on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas. It was a blast! The girls enjoyed swimming, dancing and eating! Ava ordered "juicy steak" as she called it nearly every evening. Katrina tried sushi for the first time and loved it! Forget the kids menu for these two. Dan's going to need a nice salary to keep up with Ava and Kat's taste in food! The girls gained a reputation on the ship for there dancing skills. More than once Katrina had a crowd around her cheering her on. It was so neat being able to reconnect as a family after a grueling MBA program. It was a trip to remember.
    Since the cruise we have been getting settled in the house. Dan and I have enjoyed doing projects together, included making an alligator toy box and a  headboard for Ava. We have had fun decorating the house together. Soon after arriving, we bought Kat and Ava guinea pigs. "Princess" and "Baby" have been very sweet little pigs for the girls. They are very good with them, despite the girls ages.
    I think that is all the major updates except for one, I am pregnant! I am 28 weeks now and due on September 24th. I am having another wonderful pregnancy. I continue to jog and exercise without any complications. The heat here does get to me, so I try to ride my bike in the evening, and workout indoors.  I hope all of you are having a great summer, and are welcome to visit beautiful Mississippi anytime!

The Kruse Family

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! This has been quite the year for the Kruse Family. As you can see, Ava and Katrina are growing up. At times, it seems too fast. Ava is 4 ½ going on 13. She is very creative and outgoing. She loves to sing, dance, draw, paint, and dress up like a princess. She is in preschool and loves her classmates and teachers. She has a great sense of humor and cracks up the whole family. She is in primary now and enjoys sharing all that she learns in church. She has been known to tell strangers what Jesus said not to do. Thankfully she is too cute to offend people.
      Katrina is our little fire ball. She has more personality than her little body can handle. She is 18 months old, and just started nursery at church. She is a social butterfly like her sister. She is not as delicate though. She loves to wrestle. She has been known to take toys from 3 year old boys, and keep them. She knows what she wants, and communicates very well for her age. She is silly, and expressive. She loves to play with her sister. She is more of a momma’s girl than Ava, but has been known to cry in our doorway when Daddy leaves for school. The past two years have been a sacrifice for all of us, but Katrina (Kat) has kept us laughing. She does a great “stink eye”.
       Shauna has been busy keeping up with the two girls. She has also continued to be active in the Tepper Partners club, Relief Society, local mother’s club, and volunteering in the community. This year she decided to do a team for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Societies Light the Night walk and fundraiser. With the help of a current Hodgkin's Lymphoma patient named Danielle, her team was able to raise $3000 to benefit patients with these types of Cancer. Shauna remains in remission, and considers herself “cured”. The walk was a great way of giving back to those currently in treatment. Shauna continues to run and participates in races when possible. She has used her time at home to learn to make everything under the sun by hand. She is quickly becoming the craft queen. She has enjoyed all that Pittsburgh has to offer. The rich culture, and city feel has been a unique experience. They enjoy being able to walk to the library, parks, church, gym and grocery stores.
      Daniel finished his first year of  Business School at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business with flying colors. He was chosen as one of 10 MBA students in the nation to recieve the William G. McGowan Fellowship. The Fellowship was awarded to students that have shown academic excellence, leadership, and community involvment. For his summer internship, Daniel brought the family to Minneapolis, Mn in order to complete a summer internship in marketing with Medtronic’s Neuromodulation Division. As with the all of the other locations that we have lived in over the past six years, we found some wonderful things about the area, built wonderful memories and truly enjoyed the experience. Shauna and the kids enjoyed a break from our hundred year old apartment as we lived on the thirty second floor of our summer vacation home in downtown Minneapolis. In fact, we had close to a dozen visits from family and friends over the course of the summer so others could also enjoy the benefits of the vacation spot and a less demanding schedule for Dan. We enjoyed visits from Dan’s brother John and his family, and Shauna’s brother Mike and his family. After the summer concluded, the Kruse family returned to the home front in Pittsburgh and Dan began his final year of grad school. After graduating he will began full-time work with Eaton Corporation in a Leadership rotation program. We will find out his location in April.
      We have gotten good at moving, and enjoy the change of scenery. Like previous years we have done a lot of traveling. We visited Oshkosh Wisconsin, Cleveland Ohio, Washington D.C, and Lusby/Baltimore Maryland as a family. Dan traveled frequently this year for interviews and visited Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and LA. Some of these trips included wonderful visits with family, such as Dan's visit to Santa Barbara to visit his sister Jennifer Hanrahan and her family. Our visit to Lusby Maryland was to see Shauna’s sister Colleen and her family while they celebrated the baptism of her niece.  Dan had the honor to perform the baptism. The highlight of our travels was a surprise cruise to Bermuda. Dan set up what was supposed to be an overnight date to Baltimore . After a wonderful lunch at a fish house in the Baltimore harbor, Dan gave Shauna an envelope with her passport and tickets for a 5 night cruise to Bermuda leaving just hours later from that port. She was totally shocked. It was a wonderful trip. Bermuda was breathtaking. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was unbelievable. The cruise left them feeling very spoiled. Since then Dan has been worshiped by Shauna’s female friends and hated by just about every married man he knows. Needless to say, this has been a wonderful year for our family. We have been blessed so much. We are excited for what the future holds. Merry Christmas and remember He whose birth we celebrate during this time of year, even Jesus Christ.  Without Him, our family would not enjoy the peace and joy that we feel in our lives.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Three states, 12 months!

We are officially settled in Minneapolis. Dan finished up his 1st year of Grad school at Tepper on May 5th. While I was so excited for Dan to finish his first year, I also knew it would mean saying goodbye to my friends that where spouses of graduating students. I met them through the Tepper Partners club. They were such dear friends to me despite are different back rounds and phases in life.They are honestly some of the best women I have ever met, and I have met some amazing ones. I hope to see some of them this summer in Minneapolis.
As soon as Dan finished his last final, we packed up the trailer and prepped the house for our sub renters. That following Monday we headed off on our long drive from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis. Within minutes of getting on the freeway we realized this was going to be a much longer trip then we had planned. If Dan drove over 50 mph the trailer would sway violently from side to side taking the car with it. Do not ask how long it took to get to Minnesota! We will just say that we bonded as a family. It was actually pretty fun. Ava and Kat are real road warriors. Kat was a bit of a stinker to Ava. Every time Ava fell asleep and tipped to the side, you would see this little baby hand creep up and snatch Ava's hair. Ava would wake up crying. Katrina would do this over and over till I moved her car seat. It was like torture for poor Ava. They are such siblings! Overall they did really well. We stopped in Oshkosh to visit friends for a few days, which helped make the trip a bit more exciting. We rolled into Minneapolis the following weekend. Our new place is on the 32nd floor of a high-rise in downtown Minneapolis. It has a pool, hot tub, gym, party room, playground, and is across the street from Loring park. It really feels like we are on vacation. Even though Dan is working, it is nothing like his intense school schedule. We play as a family on the weekends, and even sometimes during the week. Kat has gotten so used to seeing him, that she crawls to the front door everyday when he leaves and cries. Dan loves it. Kat has her 1st birthday on Friday. I can't believe it has been a year. She looks like a little baby still. She is so bald compared to Ava. She does have 5 teeth, three on top and two on bottom. She has a little hair, but just right down the middle of her head. Dan puts it in a little faux hawk. She is a spit fire. She is very clear with what she wants. She is very friendly with everyone, and is easily entertained. It is amazing how quickly she and Ava formed a sisterly relationship. As soon as Kat could sit up Ava was trying to play with her. They chase each other (Ava crawls), play with toys together, yell, dance, and cuddle sometimes. It is pretty funny watching them fight. You would be surprised at how well kat can handle herself when she wants something:) We are really enjoying them at this age. Dan is enjoying his internship. Soon after we got here, he received an amazing honor. He was awarded the McGowen Fellowship. This carries with it some really amazing opportunities included a full ride to Tepper next year. He applied for it as a shot in the dark, at least in his mind. The requirements of the fellowship include showing leadership and service in the community as wells as high academic achievement. Dan was really blown away to win. We are so proud of him. We are so excited for what the future may have in store for our family.Have a great summer wherever you are!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our baby grew up!

March 15, 2010 (the correct date!)
Happy Birthday Ava!
I can't believe it has been 4 years since our little cutie was born. Ava is so excited for her birthday she can't hardly stand it. We brought homemade cupcakes to her preschool today. She helped me decorate them. She tried to put candles on every single cupcake for all of the kids in the class. It was cute. She kept reminding me all weekend that I needed to get "party hats and balloons" for her party. She is a crack up. We are having a Dora the explorer birthday party on Saturday complete with pinata. I am enjoying her being out of the terrible 2's and 3's. When I told her she was turning 4 and getting to be a big girl, she had a very surprising reaction. She was really upset. As she put it, "I don't want to grow up and be a big girl". I decided to run with this and see what she would say. I told her she would grow older and older and would one day move out of our house and get her own house. She responded with "No Mommy! I lube you! I want to be an Ava forever, not a big girl". Dan and I decided she can stay awhile longer :) As for the rest of the family- Dan is still deciding on an internship. He got a whopping four offers! He also pulled straight A's again. He is truly "the Man". We will decide Tuesday if we are going to Minneapolis MN, or Raleigh NC for his summer internship. If we head to NC we will be enjoying a family reunion with my Dads side of the family in June. I am currently trying to type this and rock Kat to sleep. Aah.... the life of a mother. Back to Dan-- He has been doing so much traveling lately for interviews and case competitions. In one month he was in New Jersey, Washington D.C., North Carolina, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. Crazy! I have really felt like the lone mom. I am actually getting good at it, though I don't prefer it. I love me some Dan Kruse! On to Kat- There is only one word to describe her...a chubby ball of spaz! Oh wait that is five. She is easily excited, to say the least. If you hold her in the air she begins kicking and squealing. She is so funny. The only exception to that is when she is mad. Look out, this little girl has a temper. She has started saying momma over and over really pathetically to get me to pick her up faster. It is working. She has two bottom front teeth, big blue eyes with long dark lashes (jealous anyone) and is still pretty bald. She is getting most of her chub in her thighs. We fondly call her thunder thighs. With her current appetite, I think she will be keeping that nickname for awhile. As for me, I am living the life of a wife of a grad student/mother living in the city. If you want an idea of what that is, see the movie "MOTHERHOOD" with Gweneth Paltrow. I wouldn't have related so closely to this movie before moving to Pittsburgh. Now, watching it feels like I am watching video of my week. The parking situation wasn't so bad until the blizzards hit. At least in New York no one would be so crazy as to think a lawn chair holds your parking spot on a public street! Good ol' Pittsburgh. Besides the mom stuff, I have been doing some traveling myself. I spent almost two weeks in Wisconsin. Some good friends flew me and the girls there to visit. We also went to Washington D.C. with Dan for an MBA school basketball tournament. It was Valentines weekend so we celebrated by going to PF Changs for dinner. It was oh so good. Combine those trips with going to Texas for New years and it felt like I spent the majority of 2010 traveling or recovering from traveling. Now that I am settled again,I have been keeping myself busy with various projects. Sewing, scrapbooking, and baking. I am running more to get ready for a 10K I want to do. Now that the weather is warmer, I have gone back to running outside. Pittsburgh is a great city to train in. All the sudden steep hills really get you in shape. I am also on the Tepper Partners Club committee as the fundraising and family activity coordinator. We had a pretty successful bake sale on campus during finals weeks. The students and faculty were all very happy to part with their money for some yummy treats. I will hopefully be working with the wives of incoming students to help make their move to Pittsburgh seamless. At first Pittsburgh can seem very anti-family friendly, but once you get to know the city, it is an amazing place for children. It is tempting at first to want to just settle in the suburbs, but you miss so much of the culture and uniqueness of Pitt when you do that. Not to mention your spouse since the commute is so long from the suburbs to CMU. As scary as our apartment was when we moved in, I don't regret living where we do (especially since our amazing landlord fixed the place up). I have to admit, I'm really getting excited at the idea of having an attached garage. A girl can dream can't she!