I am full of happy reports and a useful tip for you today.
First up, happy reports: The sun is shining and the snow is melting, slowly but surely. Adam checked on the bees yesterday, and both hives look great! Full of happy bees. When we first started with them last spring, our goal was to get them through the winter. I am so very pleased to report that they made it! Really, I can't quite explain how glad we are. Also, the chickens are laying more, now that the daylight hours are longer, and the days are finally warm enough this week that the sap is running. We have five trees tapped, right behind the house, and have been eagerly awaiting appropriate day and night temperatures. We've been squirrelling away the little amounts that we've been getting in the freezer, and will do a big boil once we've got some more on hand. Exciting times!
Next, a useful tip, with some preamble. I try not to be too picky in general, but I have distinct preferences around certain things. Cleaning products and personal care items are on that list. For environmental and health reasons, I won't use most of the products that are widely available, which leads to some creative solutions. Which are the most fun, really. I use my own bar soaps for the shower, and pumps for liquid soap by the sinks. We have one boy in this house who likes to play in the sink and was destroying a bar of my precious soap every few days, so that's why we made the switch to liquid for now. I also avoid 'antibacterial' hand soaps with triclosan like the plague - it affects animal life in waterways, can promote bacterial resistance, and is no better at getting your hands clean than regular soap. And if those reasons aren't enough to avoid it, it's drying to your skin. And there are so many lovely alternatives!
In a moment of weakness, I spent way too much money on a bottle of J.R. Watkins foaming handsoap which was lovely. Although the fragrance is artificial, which I'm not a fan of. It's very gentle, and the scent is light and pleasant. Regardless - all of that is not my point. My point is that you can easily refill foaming soap dispensers! Just fill the bottle 1/4 full of your preferred liquid soap, and fill the rest with water. I use Down East dishwashing liquid because it's EcoLogo certified, has no fragrance (which means I can customize it with my own essential oils) and it's super gentle on hands. It's also from Dartmouth, right here in Nova Scotia, and a 4 litre jug costs around $10. I usually add in several drops of grapefruit essential oil after adding the soap and before adding the water.
Other options are Nature Clean liquid soap, or Dr Bronner's (which is nice, I suppose, but I find that it costs a fortune and clogs pumps, squirting a soapy stream into your eyes if you're not careful), The Soap Works, or Green Beaver.
I've been enjoying lots of things lately. Tiny house tours on YouTube, The Good Life Project (there's a podcast, videos, etc.), peppermint essential oil in my diffuser in the car, and our almost-complete bedroom closet / drawer solution. And the light in the evenings! I'm enjoying that so very, very much.