Saturday, December 3, 2011

...and let there be light.

Just a short update on the progress of the Rubi J Store. This is the way the front looked since the 60's or 70's when it was converted into office space:

This is the inside of that wall after we removed the paneling:

Now after one week, look at what the contractors have done:

Notice I said contractors. No way were Ron and I going to attempt this! They're doing the drywall, also. We have done that once - an "okay" job, but it took us FOREVER to get it smooth.

We're very, very happy with the progress. It's starting to look like a store. Can't wait.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sandy's Project (Part 2)

Remember this project? Where this

 turned into this:

Well, we have started on the main floor - the future home of Rubi J in downtown Harlan. This time, husband Ron is working with me. He recently retired and is at my disposal. (There's been a few raised eyebrows at that situation.) During our 46 year marriage, we have attempted to work together a few times. It got ugly.

But we were willing to try again. And guess what? It's working out great. No one's more surprised than me. Could it be we both have matured?

Our first objections were to remove the drywall and baseboards; then remove the plaster on the long wall down to the original bricks. Then clean and seal them.  Here's where we were after the first few days:

We decided a pickup wasn't going to do the job, so we had a dumpster moved in to the back door. It was a very good decision.

For a week we came home covered in plaster dust and extremely tired. To clean the bricks, we used vinegar and water for the acid wash. It worked great and no chemical fumes. Perfect.

We finished the sealing last weekend and are taking a few days off. Here's what it looks like now.

That's the same wall as the previous picture.

Now it's on to painting the 14' high ceiling. Go Team Ronfeldt!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Changing of seasons.

As some of you might already know, I love flower gardening. It ranks right below reading. In the spring, I'm possessed; cleaning out the beds, getting my hands dirtied and running to all the garden centers to grab my bounty.

Then, all summer long, I go to my havens. I love weeding, feeding and watering. You gardeners know the feelings. You love the nuturing, the satisfaction of the beauty you created; and the peace.

Then, around September, my motherly instinct turns to something else. My "children" are getting on my nerves - always wanting water, needing more Miracle Grow, begging to be weeded. Plus, they're just not so cute anymore.

So, two nights ago, we had our first major freeze. I knew what I should have done; but that involved blankets and making space in the garage. I pretended to be too busy. I decided to let Nature do my dirty work. Here's a little of the carnage:

First: The Gerber Daisies.

Then comes the Mexican Heather:

Then there is my herb garden:

And that's just on my deck.

(Burial services will be this weekend.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Start walking!!!

I love living here in Iowa. Both my husband and I were born and raised in the state; but couldn't wait to leave when we grew up.

Then, after living in Denver, Texas and Louisiana and adding  a baby to our family, we decided to moved back to Iowa to raise her. We have never regretted that decision.

According to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index; Iowa is rated 19th in the nation for health. Our governor wants Iowa to be number one by 2016. 

I agree. Health officials have declared today's children will not live as long as our generation. How sad. We have become victims of our environment.

But it's never too late. The governor's office has started a program for us to come together to change this trend. It's called the Healthiest State Initiative. The kick-off program starts this October 7, 2011.

As we all know, the hardest part of any project is to just start. We are starting with "Start Somewhere Walk". A simple 1K (7 blocks) walk. This is slated for the whole state. Our 2 local grocery stores are even suppling lunch. Thank you, HyVee and Fareway.

To learn more about this program, go to and take the pledge.

Once again, Iowa will be "first in the nation".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I've found out that I can hate!!!

First things, first.

I'm a gentle soul.

I can find good in everything.

It's a blessing, our Father has given me.

But, I have learned. I do have the power to hate; a word I don't allow in our house; but now I feel it.

I hate cancer.

There's too much of it.

More than before.

Let's find the reason.

Let's find the answer.

It can't beat us if we are united.

We will win.

We will be victorious; (if we keep on fighting).

Go to to join the fight.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New oneies in stock!!!!

We're making some changes at the Rubi J Store. I'm in the process of adding new colors to our onesies collection and discontinuing some others. There will be still three sizes to choose from and these are great for personalizing as well.

The Sunset Pink has been popular in the organic tees and it is now available in the baby bodysuit.

Our new blue is Sky Blue.

Our new green is Sage Green.

All are, of course, GOTS certified organic cotton.

We still have a few of the discontinued colors in stock at clearance prices. Check them out at

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's nice to be noticed.

I recently ran across this article on organic clothing. I was please to notice our website listed on it.
The article is quite interesting. I've been saying the same things.
Go to:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting back to my center.

I'm usually a pretty laid back type of individual. Not many things upset or rile me. I also can be the blunt of many jokes. Ask my family. I've given them plenty of material. I usually laugh the loudest.

But, every once in a while, I allow disappointments to bother me. It's been one thing after another. Yikes, is the whole world against me??? Answer: "Probably not."  Second answer: "So what if it is?"

I like both answers.

When I feel a little blue or overwhelmed, I turn to my Oracle Cards.
They never let me down.

One of my favorite authors and spiritual guides is Sonia Choquette. Man, she is one happy person. I would recommend any of her books. She also published Soul Lesson and Soul Purpose Oracle Cards. It's a 63-Card Deck with a guidebook. Just pick a card at randon and read the guidance. I always seem to pick the right one for my current mood.

These cards are also fun for a group. You can get them at most book stores or online.

I'm already back to my old lovable self.

Update on Lucy:

She's feeling great!!!!! Her left "false" eye looks better all the time. Amazing how she adjusted to seeing with just one day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Back to School Sale!!!

All short sleeved organic T-shirts currently on sale!

30% to 60% off!

This sale includes all plain tees in various colors; in sizes 2T to Youth Large.

Also included are Animal Tails short sleeved tees in sized 2 to 10 yrs.

Shop now at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sandy's List: Vinegar

Who doesn't love vinegar? The best household item in the world. It's been in my laundry room forever. I've always add it to my rinse cycle to remove the last of the detergent.

Daughter Stef told me she add started using vinegar in the wash cycle. Well, I quickly told her how wrong that was. "It's suppose to go in the rinse cycle." Of course, she agreed with me. After all, I am her all knowing mother. I have since learned it can also be added to the wash cycle to help with the cleaning, deodorizing and static cling. I keep forgetting to tell her of my mistake. I know how she idolizes me.

Sorry, Stef.

I stop using fabric softeners and sheets years ago. I had read they sometimes were skin irritants. And, it did help with my rashes I sometimes suffer through. But now I know there are greater reasons to not use them. The chemicals.

Softeners and sheets are meant to cover your laundry to make them softer to the touch. Here's a list of the chemicals that are rubbing against your body:
  • Alpha-Terpineol
  • Benzyl Acetate
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Camphor
  • Chloroform
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Pentane
"Google" these chemicals and find out for yourself what you and your children are absorbing.

My clothes are soft and don't have static cling. (Another tip: don't over dry.)

This is just one little step to remove chemicals from our bodies. Painless and a lot cheaper.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Writer's Block

I know I haven't blogged in a long time. Didn't feel good. Now I'm feeling great, but I've discovered I have nothing to say, of any interest anyway. It might be "writer's block". If I was a true writer, I'm sure that's what I got.

I've been researching different subjects. For instance, I was going to explain all the differences of sweeteners, how each metabolize in the body and which one would be the most healthy. This was all going to make us wiser shoppers. After about two days of dedicated study and note taking; about the only bit of knowledge I gleaned was sucrose came from maple syrup, beets and sugar cane and frustose came from fruits, vegetables and honey.

Let's try something else.

I subscribe to several online medical news. One day I learned from a research study of over 120,000 people stretching over 25 years that potato chips can make you fat. The study didn't say it quite so bluntly, but the meaning was there. I'm going to pass on the details of the study. Why learn more about something we already know?

I could talk about my gallbladder surgery, but even I'm bored by it.

My dog, Lucy, had surgery also. Her left eye was removed and a prosthesis implanted. She is doing great, also.

I have the feeling some of our friends think we're nuts spending that kind of money on a mutt from the shelter. Yes, we are nuts, always have been. But, here's the thing. When we adopted Lucy, she became a member of our family - a valued member. If you're a dog person, you understand. If you're not a dog person; sorry, no amount of explaining could help you understand.

Now, who couldn't love a face like that?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sticks and stones are nothing!

We've all heard the expression: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me".

Oh, how I wish this was true. But, alas, words do hurt; and the wounds sometimes never heal.

How do I know this is true? Ask any adult about a physical trauma during their childhood and you will probably get a play by play on how they broke their arm in two places or how many stitches it took to close the hole in their head. Good stories, no doubt; even a few laughs. But notice, please; but emotional flashback.

But now, let's get to the subject of words that hurt. It's never laughed about; it still hurts. We don't talk about how we were humiliated in 5th grade by the most popular girl in the class; the shame is still with us. It doesn't even matter if that girl became an outstanding, caring adult; we never forget that moment. We can't let go. We've been damaged.

What I'm trying to say; words do matter, and people never forget emotions.

So, let's get to the positive side. People never forget kindness. Don't you want people to remember your kindness instead of the hurt.

They will feel good about you; and so will you. As Martha Stewart would say: "It's a good thing".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The cloud has lifted!!

Hi everyone. Missed me? You haven't? Well, I'll tell you anyway.

Lucy (that's the pretty brown dog in the picture) and I have been on medical leave.

Me: gallbladder attack (have to get it out) and pneumonia. No biggie. Thousands a day.

Lucy: Glaucoma. This is so much more serious in dogs than us humans. We've been working with meds for the last 6 weeks. No go. Tomorrow, surgery to remove her left eye. When we adopted Lucy from the Shelter, we made the committment to be her best friend and take care of her. She is a VALUED member of our family and we will do everything to make her comfortable.

Wish us luck tomorrow and say a little prayer. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Exposure overload.

I just read a small article in the May 9, 2011, issue of Time about all the toxins and chemicals in our daily lifes.

It stated 27 trillion pounds are produced or imported into our country each year. The problem is, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Environmental Health, there is very little research on what effect these have on our children.

The last law on regulating chemicals was in 1976. Wow. How our world has changed since then. The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) doesn't require any chemical manufacturer to pretest their products in regard to human health. So, if I'm reading this article correctly, the only concern of the manufacturer is to get the job done and make a profit. I'm all for effective products and making profits; and wait, let's be a little responsible.

It took independent studies to prove bisphenol A was causing long term health problems for our kids. This is after it had been and still is on the market and in our everyday lifes.

My greatest concern; there is so much exposure. It's everywhere.

A great website for educating yourself is the Environmental Health Perspectives. Great articles. Here's the link

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's in your makeup?

First things, first. I love, love, love makeup. I never leave home without it. Also, good skin care.

It's no surprise to learn the cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar business. That's because we all know we women are not "thin enough", "pretty enough". Good marketing.

But what are we putting on our faces and bodies? Sure, go ahead and read the ingredients. Unless you're a dermatologist or chemist, those words mean nothing; and there are so many of them, impossible to learn what's good or bad.

Last Christmas, our dear friend, Cea, gave daughter Stef and me a book called Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano. I highly recommend it. The section on cosmetics started us both on a tirade to rid ourselves and our family of toxins. I think they want to burn the book.

The cosmetic industry governs themselves. Not always the best idea when the dollars is the bottom line.

I could go on and on about what I have learned about the toxins we are rubbing into our skins, but I found a great website where you can go: No only is there a treasure trove of information, you can look up your cosmetic to see how it is rated. They have teamed up with the Environmental Working Group to create this awesome database.

There is one bit of information I was totally bummed by. Some companies still test on animals. I thought that was in our past. That's deal breaker for me. I will never, never buy from such a company. So, I'm on in the market for some new mascara.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day - April 22

This is the banner on the home page of Tomorrow is Earth Day.

No, you don't need to decorate your house or buy candy. And you don't have to get smart about it either. I know some people think it's a joke to be concern about Mother Earth. I've heard it all.

But here's an idea. Let's put all our opinions aside for just one day and do something a little positive.

Go to the website and learn what you can do for future generations. They're counting on us.

My Grandniece

My Granddaughter
My Grandson

I'm sure you can think of your own reasons.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sandy's Project-Yay! I'm done (almost)

 Remember this? This was my fun "little project" to do in my spare time.


I laugh in your face.

O.K. So I've had my ups and downs. Am I glad I did this? 


Will I buy another building to renovate?
Why don't you pull out my toenails instead. It would be less painful.
Here's the current view:
Pretty cool, huh. And, we even have a tenant living in it now. If Ron and I live to be 175 years old; we will actually see a profit.

But the benefits are greater than any profits. Renovating a historial building has its own rewards. This space hadn't been used in over 60 years. We saved the woodwork, honored the integrity and kept the history alive. That was our reward. We love history and the stories that can be told by preserving the tangibles.

Here are some pictures:

Although, I'm "almost" done (I still need to finish the french doors), I'm taking a little break. Then the main floor; soon to become our Rubi J Store, can become the next "Sandy's project".

Just can't wait to break through two layers of bricks.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Garage sales - There's an "App" for that.

Spring is in the air: green peeking through the snow, hot houses setting up outside of grocery stores, red eyes and noses dripping and, of course, garage sales.

Tis the season.

I know we love a bargain and I don't want to rain on your  parade; but, if you're looking for a bargain on baby gear; let's be safe with our most precious little people.

Be on guard when you are shopping second hand for your baby. There is recall upon recall on baby products. I know if you're under 30 you have a smart phone. My daughter couldn't believe when her dad and I recently updated our phones, we purchased the same kind we always had. How 2005's was that?

Here's my advice. Before you purchase that hot deal for your baby; go to and find out if that item has been recalled.

We're talking about your baby. Don't be a statistic. A few minutes on your smart phone could change your life for the better.

Happy garage saleing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Carol, I miss you.

I can't believe I'm writing this post. I just wrote a tribute to my beloved departed brother. I was ready to put my avenger cape back on to save the world and rid our children of toxins. Then, you just couldn't fight the brave battle you had fought for the last 1 1/2 years any more. Who could blame you. My hero, forever. I am grateful you no longer have the pain.

I remember the night we became friends. I knew you before; you had married a childhood friend of Ron's and mine. Then we moved to a house close to you and invited your family over for an evening. That's when our daughter, Steffie, age 5, and your daughter, Lynie, age 3, met and became BFF to this day. Something else happen. We talked. And talked. And talked. We never stopped.

That night started a special friendship I will cherish to my dying day. The memories, oh the memories. We were young new mothers trying to find our way. We stumbled, we achieved, we did it together. I'm remembering the long conversations we had, sharing our hopes, dreams and insecurities. We wanted the best for our little girls. Somehow, they survived us, and became better than us; which was our goal.

I think what I remembered the most was the comfort we had with each other. When we two families were together, comfort. We all enjoyed each other company.

Our children grew. You and Terry added two sons. What blessings!!!! Steffie and Lynie became Stef and Lyn. We sent them to the University of Iowa (two years apart), we watch them get married with each of them being the maid of honor (of course) and then the icing: grandchildren.

You loved my Stef as much as I loved your Lyn.

I'm not saying goodbye. You will be with me forever; and I know I will be happy again; some day soon; because you want me to be. Love you.

So, I'm now going back to saving the world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keeping the spirit alive.

Sorry, all of you reader (yes, I said reader). I know I haven't written in quite a while. I've been busy thinking about jokes and researching on the web funny things to send to my brother, Stew.

Cancer, once again, came into our lifes. They discovered it around Christmas; lung and spread to the liver. I'll spare you the details.

Here's a thing about Stew. He loved to laugh. I could always make him laugh. But then, everything and everybody made him laugh. He had the greatest giggle and laugh of them all.

That damn cancer won the battle last Tuesday. It's still hard to imagine he gone; not Stew. He was always so full of life, loving each day, even when he was sick.

There's always the tendency to inflate the qualities on the newly departed. We're not delusional. Stew had his faults. But here's the cool part about him; he could always get away with it. He could take someone's parking space and then, without hesitation, engage them in a warm conversation and the next thing you know, everyone is happy. The thing was Stew never recognize he slipped in front of someone. He was just parking, enjoying the day and everyone around him.

Stew was what we all strived for; living in the moment, and loving it. That's why he was so much fun to be around. Everyone that knew him would have a "Stewy story".

We may not be able to hug him anymore or get hugs from him; but he is still with us. His spirit is alive and well. He's laughing with me right now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sandy's List: "I love you, man, Mrs. Dash"
O.K. This is the second installment of "Sandy's List"; awesome things on the market.

I love Mrs. Dash's Original Blend Seasoning. Ron and I are on a mission to cut our salt intake. You know; processed food - yuch.

Mrs. Dash has been my savior.

We both like foods with a kick. I know salt brings out the favors of even of dullest of foods. Enter Mrs. Dash.

I love because:
  • I recognized all the ingredients.
  • I can pronouce all the ingredients.
  • No salt.
This is the prefect subsitute for salt. Trust me on this one. We have been going without out usual amount of salt of some time and the results are amazing. Prepared foods suck! Sorry, I couldn't think of another work to fit.

The point is - once you start eating naturally, you realize what real food taste like. It's good.

I would be a spokeperson if they ever did T.V. commercials, but I've never seen one. If I was a famous person, I'm sure they would start. (I need to do something important, I would have more clout.)

So, if I have changed a couple of people's  (you know who you are) way of thinking; it's been a good day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thank you, Martha Stewart.

First things, first.

We love onion rings; real onion rings. You know the ones; "Let's order a big plate first at Applebees, before our 2,000 calorie meal" onion rings.

The frozen onion rings you put in the oven are not technically food, in my opinion. It's this cardboard crust around 3 inches thick with a little slimy worm inside.

So, in our quest to rid us of fried foods, I can across this recipe on the Martha Stewart website. Actually, I was listening to Martha Stewart radio, when someone called in to rave about it. I went to the website, search "baked onion rings" and here they are.

I tried them this week. The recipe's serving was for 4; but after my husband and I finished them off, he asked if there were any more. They're a "keeper". 

They would be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday.

I'm not going to give you the recipe. If you're reading this, you already have access to Martha's website. It's easy to find

One note, however. The recipe calls for buttermilk, which I never have around. You can always substitute regular milk and adding a tablespoon of something acidic - lemon juice, vinegar, etc. It works for me.

Now, if only I can find a way to make corn fritters delicious without deep fat frying them. The quest continues.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Do your homework.

Access to information is extremely easy these days. We have 24/7 news channels and internet. Want to know something? Sure, just "Google" it. Reading and researching lead me to start an organic clothing business for babies and children. It has also helped my husband and I understand the importance of natural foods in our diet. We've changed our eating habits for the better and discovered how much better we feel and how good real food from scratch can be.

Other things I have discovered:
  • Obesity in children and adults increases very year.
  • Diabetes is now rampant in our society.
  • Autism has increased in the last 25 years from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100.
  • ADHD increases 2 - 3% every year.
I don't claim to be an expert (although my family has accused me of being "a know it all") but let's just look around us. What's different today than when we were kids.
  • Fast food eateries at every street corner.
  • Preservatives and additives in almost everything we pick up at the grocery store.
  • Everyone spraying and fertilizing with chemicals to get the perfect lawn or bigger yields.
  • Healthy lifestock being injected with antibodies.
I'm a child of the 50's and 60's. I didn't know anybody with autism, ADHD or diabetes. I know many researchers say that because it wasn't diagnosed then. In my heart, I don't buy that.

What I'm asking you is to do your own homework.

Word of caution, however. When you read a research or study, check out the organization that funded or conducted said research. There might be a bias.

Happy Googling.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Awesome Cheetah.

Photograph by Chris Johns
 I could look at this picture for hours. Such a magnificent creature. I love all animals, but there is something magical about the big cats. They are so regal. I think it's the eyes.


Even the name is cool. That's why Disney has the "Cheetah Girls" instead of the "Naked Mole Rat Girls". Cheetah is even listed in the Urban Dictionary: "A cougar in training. A sexy woman too old to be a kitten and too young to be a cougar. They are known to move extremely fast."

Now, for the sad facts. Cheetahs are at the top of the list of all endangered big cats. Their habitats are dwindling and so are their numbers.

That's what Animal Tails are all about. Organic clothing for our children with a message. Hopefully, when your child wears one of the Animal Tails tees, they will be encouraged to learn about our endangered species and help made their world better. To learn more about the cheetah, go to It's a great website.

We're featuring the boys Cheetah shirt at as our "Special of the Day". Like the cheetah, it's cool.

Grandson Cole is cool, too.