Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3 Pauses to Remove Stress Residue

   Next week is Thanksgiving.  Those words have a sort of starting line feel don't they?  And so it begins...the holiday season.  Nothing really changes except our to-do list and expectations.  What does the holidays have to do with a healthy and happy home?....pretty much everything.
   A healthy home starts with a nurtured family.   Of all the zillions of toxins I have learned about over the past many years, the one I feel is the most detrimental to our health is STRESS.  I just completed a program getting certified as a master EFT practitioner.  I did this specifically to help our homes and families let go of the residue of stress.
   This year I'm thinking we should practice a new way through the holidays.  
   3 Pauses
      The total time required is 30 minutes... 10 minutes per pause
          There is no time limit. The longer this one bakes the sweeter it is. 
     1st pause:  Quiet Time
          Upon waking up.  Give your self at least 10 extra minutes of free time.  My mom used to call it Quiet time.  You can do anything you want so long as you are quiet and doing something that makes you happy.  Morning prayer, yoga, compost writing, reading, drinking a cup of tea, listening....

   2nd pause:  Coming Back To Center
        Sometime during the day pause.  For 10 minutes stop and just breathe.  While you breathe you might want to stand up a little taller, relax your shoulders,  Breathe a little deeper, slower and richer.  Have a drink of water and smile.  Breathe, drink, smile and relax.  My yoga teacher Diane Bunting calls this checking in as " coming back to center".

   3rd pause:  Deep Relaxation Into Gratitude
       Just before falling asleep, let go- completely.  Breathe in deeply, breathe out slowly.  As you breathe out feel the weight of the world roll off your shoulders.  Smile a little and relax your face, neck and shoulders.  This is a good time to recall something good that happened today and feelings of gratitude. 

    I know from years of experience of trying November/December the hard way...A calm energy system is the greatest give you can give yourself and your family during the holidays. 

        As always, wishing you and your families a happy and healthy home,
                Denise Frakes
               Certified Healthy Home Specialist
               and now... Master EFT Practitioner:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Resources for Green Cleaning and Healthy Homes

Today, we have at our fingertips zillions of amazing resources.  On the 29th of Oct I'm giving a class on green cleaning for the city of Federal Way.  Anyone who knows me or as ever heard me speak, will attest, I'm just full of information.  Some of this information is even useful:)

For this particular class, I can only speak for 1/2 hour!!!!!!  I know this is crazy talk, me only gab for 1/2 hours???!!!   Instead of fretting about it, I decided to blog my information so everyone has it at their fingertips. 

This blog is a group of very useful resources I'm highlighting in my talk.  A blog is a great format because all you have to do is point and click and you will be magically transported to my favorite resource sites.

4 Incredible resources - one stop learning for a healthy home!!!

1.  EWG: Environmental Working Group
      If you don't already have this one on your favorites you soon will.  The EWG actually has a few sites but and you can find them all here.
      a.  Guide to Healthy Cleaning Products This very new database give you incredibly helpful info on the safety of your everyday cleaners. It includes fragrances!! yeah!!!

     b.  Skin Deep:  This EWG site is a database  and rating system of our personal care products.  You can either search for healthy products or check up on the ones you already use.

     c.  Dirty Dozen:  Every wonder which foods are best bought organic and which foods you can buy non-organic.  This site helps you keep a healthy family, when you are on a budget.

2.  Women's Voices for the Earth:  Don't let the name fool you, this isn't a soap box site but a well written and incredible healthy home resource!  It gives tons of household product recipes to make yourself.  It also has home party guides for creating healthy home and for baby friendly homes

3.  Wastemobile Service at the Auburn SuperMall:  If after you read your label you discover a few dangerous or irritating cleaners lurking around, Don't throw away or put down the drain.  Take your house hold chemicals to The Auburn SuperMall Wastemobile  Besides your resource to safe disposal of household chemicals.  This site is also a fantastic source for a healthy home and a healthy environment.

4.  Blue Sky Services: An Ounce of Prevention:   While you are visiting our blog, please make yourself at home.  Our blogs are written from the trenches of cleaning and healthy homes.  Find how to maintain your home and create a healthy one from the perspective of 21 years experience in cleaning, research, practice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seize the Season of Change!!!

   Welcome to Autumn!  As the weather changes, I seem to have an uncanny number of comments on this blog.   It seems a good time to write a new post.
   I trust you have all had a great summer.  Ours was very good but isn't there something about the quick and decisive changes in autumn?  With change so heavy in the air,  it give any change we put into practice extra power.  So with this extra weather changing power, what would you like to change?  Traditionally, we make our resolutions in January.  But if you want real staying power, make your changes now when the weather is on your side. 
   These changes don't have to be serious as this is a spontaneous resolution.  Why not have a little fun?  A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I decided to create a happiness project together.  Inspired from the book... "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin  we are gathering our mother/daughter connection- to stay motivated and on track. We started a year long journey together in creating happiness. 
   Take a moment or two go outside and see where the brisk wind takes you. There is always an abundance of serious in this world, why add to it?  Maybe what the effortless changes in Autumn are trying to tell us is to take life a little easier, have a little more fun and enjoy.
   Don't worry, January is just around for those deeper resolutions.  Of course, there will still be bathrooms to clean and dinners to cook, but in the end of your days won't an excess of happiness be a better memory???  Seize the season!
   Please share any Autumn changes you find while pondering Autumn.
   And thank you for your interest in our blog, your thoughts and comments are always welcome and most appreciated!!
    As always, wishing you and your family a happy and healthy home.
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take your family to a pesticide free park- here's how

Greetings and welcome to summer!
    A wonderful friend of mine from gave me a mini broshure with the link to a great summer resource: "Where to find outdoor areas in King County that are either pesticide- free or pesticide reduced sites".  It is finally summer and with summer comes, and I say this with a dash of hope, sunshine and hot weather!
    Originally, I'm from Colorado where we can see about 300 days of sunshine!  After living in the NW for almost 23 years I have come to realize up here sunshine is a gift not a given.  I truly believe we should have spontaneous good weather hooky days.  This is where on any day, if the weather takes a beautiful turn for the better, we have so many allotted days per calendar year where we can close our office doors, shut off the computer and head outdoors.  :-)
    But where do we head?  If we are going to be playing and really enjoying the day we better get grass stains on our knees and dirt in between our toes.  What we don't want is pesticides added to this mix. 
   The Local hazardous Waste Management Program of King County has created this website for us.  All you need to do is click on the website below and type in your city or zip code.  This site will give you a map with little boxes.  The green boxes are for pesticide-free outdoor areas and the brown boxes are for pesticide reduced sites.  If you click directly on each box it will give you the address and site name.. lovely!

Pesticide-Free Places:  Where kids and pets play worry free
You can also access with this site @

    If you scroll down a bit further on this same site, you will find additional links including:
      * Why worry about where they play
      *  How to get listed on the map
      *  Make your yard pesticide free
      *  Landscaper help

   In Federal Way, as of this typing, there are three sites.  Not as good as I had hoped but probably an improvement from a couple of years ago. 
   If you have small children, pets, anyone with an impaired immune system or just have a very wise family, locate these sites and take a breath of fresh air with your spontaneous hooky and much needed NW sunshine days.

   As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home and family
  Denise Frakes
   Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
    Certified Healthy Home Specialist

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blue Sky Presents: April 21st South Sound EcoGuild

We are honored to be a part of the 3rd annual South Sound Green Building Tour. Please join us on April 21st and 22 at the Northwest Eco Building Guild's weekend extraordinaire.

I will be giving a workshop: "Creating a healthy and residue free home" on Saturday @ 10:15am at the Resource Hub in downtown Olympia For details, go to their website and check out all the festivities. ( address 403 Capital Way; Olympia WA)

Over the course of two days, there will be great workshops and booths. Plus, you can actual tour the healthiest, most sustainable, energy saving homes in the Olympia area. If you are looking to do future building or remodeling, this is a perfect place to meet your next builder and gain ideas!

"The Northwest Eco Building Guild is a 501(c)(3) community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest. The Guild empowers people through education to transform the built environment for long term sustainability."

If you want to improve the health and happiness of your own family, please come join me on Saturday morning. I will be discussing 6 of the most common but often sneaky toxins/allergens and irritants that find their way into our homes.

Don't worry I won't leave you hanging with only the bad news. I will give you 4 sound practices to help you minimize those sneaky 6! There will be plenty of time to answer your questions, South Sound Eco Building Guild has thought ahead. After my talk, I will be answering questions for another 45 minutes in a special discussion area! SWEET!

So come find answers and ideas for your own home. I look forward to seeing your there!!

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home.
Denise Frakes
Co-owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist NCHH

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Begin with the end in mind... Leave nothing behind

Yesterday, I sent out our first ever e-newsletter!! For all visiting our blog site today, welcome!

I think and study about cleaning, health, homes and even the philosophy of cleaning more than any normal person. But like us all, I'm not normal, normal doesn't really exist. I believe normal falls in the same category as perfection. They are both like a spring breeze, lovely to think about but try to hold on too tight and you will squeeze the breeze right out.

Why do I think about our homes and health so much? Because I believe every family has the right to be joyfully, healthy and happy. When we are sick, lacking energy or depressed this right is like the spring breeze, it is gone and becomes a distant longing. If I can shed a little light and health back into your life and your families lives, then all my my abundantly normal time spent learning and contemplating will be worth every second.

Today, I want to continue visiting with you about creating a Residue Free Home. My last couple blogs have talked about the basics of a residue free home. This blog is looking at the final principle which is... leave nothing behind. Stephen Covey in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, says "begin with the end in mind". This is exactly what we want to do in the care of our homes: Begin with the end in mind. The end is leaving our homes free of unwanted toxins, allergens, irritants and contaminates.

If there is one common that has followed Dallas and I in our 20 years + in cleaning is RESIDUE! The number one thing we see or see signs of, is residue left behind. Residue is often cleaners or chemicals over applied, sprayed around, mixed and unsuccessfully removed. When you spray a cleaner, fragrance, an aerosol, a pesticide, paint, disinfectant, perfume, or hair spray..... where does it all go?

In green cleaning, the focus is usually on safer products. I'm all for that!! But what is not usually talked about is the method those products are used. Of course, we start with the mildest and safest means possible in our cleaners and products but this is not the whole story. How we use and how often we use those products matters a great deal!! Unless we are putting oxygen into our air, then strive to leave nothing unwanted behind.

Here are three easy ways to minimize residue left behind
1. Do not spray chemicals into the air- minimize exposure
2. Open up windows, turn on exhaust fans - removes chemicals and allergens
3. Rinse and dry - make sure there is always a removal process

Of course, I will be writing more on residue free homes but these three ways will get you started. The air we breath is essential to our vibrant health. Keep your home's air clean, fresh and free of unwanted chemicals, allergens etc.

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist with NCHH

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Residue Free Homes: The basics and support sites

I love my job. Just in case you ever wonder, I love my job. Why.. because I get to research, learn and share. Tonight I'll be speaking on detoxing homes. This morning, I wanted to post the basics of creating a healthy and residue free home, plus give you links you can use for researching the safety of your own personal care products and household chemicals.

Lets start by creating a residue free home. What is a residue free home? It is a home that supports you and your families health as your number one priority. A residue free home leaves nothing behind that would be detrimental to the health and well being of your family.

A residue free home turns our focus upside down. In the the consumer products and personal care industries: beauty, speed, effectiveness rule our products. This creates products that may be effective but may also be also harmful. The first place I start in a home is to reorganize our priorities.

Priorities of a residue free home:
1. Health of family, pets and environment
2. Longevity of surface and investment
3. Appearance and beauty

With our focus turning to the health of our family we need a guideline. Here are my 5 rules of thumb for creating a residue free home. Of course this is the condensed version but it will get you started.

Creating a residue free home: my 5 rules of thumb
1. awareness- what do you use?
2. curiosity- what is in it, is it safe? A little research is a powerful friend
3. prevention- can I prevent the need to use this product?
4. mildest-safest means possible- is there a safer way or product I can use instead?
5. leave nothing behind- if I use it do I remove all traces?

Starting with awareness. What do you use in your home?
Take an afternoon and look around your home. Look at personal care products, look at cleaners, air fresheners, candles, home maintenance products, lawn care, auto care, pest control, disinfectants/germ control, crafts, office, pets.... the list is usually pretty big. Don't let this stop you. Your first step is only awareness of what your family uses in your home.

Be curious, ask questions...
Next, Start with one product at a time- one day at a time
Read the label - all of it!!!
Ask yourself how it is used. Sprayed in air, aerosol, put on skin...???
Does is smell?
How do I feel when I use it? What about my family?
Do I mix it with any other products- by accident or on purpose?
How often do I use it?
Where do I use it?
Why do I use it?
What is in it?
How long have I been using it? WHY?
Do a little further research. Look up the product's safety.
For cosmetics and personal care products:
EWG Skin Deep

For household products:
This site is a great start but by no means as good as the cosmetics sites.

Prevention: Is there anyway to prevent using this product?
This may be your best way to create a residue free home. Start minimizing the products/chemicals you bring into your home.
An example would be: Instead of using deodorizers to create fresh air, open the windows and let fresh air in. I know crazy right???

Use the Mildest Means Possible: Look for safer products, non toxic products, products used without getting into our air or on our skin. This is where, with a tiny bit of education, you can use incredibly safe products and get better results. Hint- we are a great resource!!

Leave nothing behind: When you clean or apply a product/chemical is there a residue left behind? In the past 20 years of cleaning, residue is the number one thing we remove when we clean.
Don't leave it in the air, on our surfaces or on us. When you use a product do not spray it into the air- unless it is oxygen we don't want to breath it! If you apply it to a surface rinse and dry it. If it creates any kind of odor, vapor, particles or gas turn on your exhaust vents and open windows.
Our homes are sacred spaces. This is where we should be able to be healthy and vibrant. It should never be the source of our un-health. Take back your home, become empowered to create healthy homes and vibrant families.

A word to the wise....this is a process. Remember Rome was not built in a day. Start with awareness and look at one product at a time, on day at a time. Listen to your body. Listen to your family. When you find a product or contaminate that makes you cringe don't panic but rejoice, you have just discovered another way to make your home healthy. Creating a residue free home is about living free and healthy. If you find products you do not want in your home, do not throw away but recycle or take to hazardous waste site for proper disposal.

Congratulations, you are one step closer to a healthy home. If you want further help. We teach classes on creating residue free homes and we can also work directly with you in your own home.
As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home!
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist

Friday, March 16, 2012

What a residue free home isn't.....

Create a residue free home. Why would you want to do such a thing? Our homes should be the place we can go that is safe, healthy and relaxing. Our homes should not be the source of our un-health or stress. Unfortunately, for so many reasons our homes are becoming a potential source of our dis-ease. A residue free home puts the health back into healthy home.

Before I tell you about a residue free home, let me tell you what it isn't:

A residue free home isn't about being a watch dog but about being curious and thoughtful.
A residue free home isn't about being afraid of all chemicals but about being aware and wise.
A residue free home isn't about being perfect but about celebrating our imperfections.
A residue free home isn't a task master of lists but about listening
A residue free home is more of a practice than a goal.
A residue free home is a place where gratitude, joy and presence thrive.
A residue free home isn't a place to fret and worry when company comes unexpectedly but a place where all are welcome and happily received- dirty dishes and all.

Before I start in on the details of residue free, I want to help you create a home that gives you and your family the freedom to be yourself and be vibrant in your health. What good is having a beautiful home if the family it holds isn't nurtured in its walls?

Before I begin my next blog, take a minute and dream about your home:

Think about how you want to feel in your home. How you want your family to feel.
Think about what makes a happy home, what part of your home makes you the happiest.
Think about who lives in your home and what they mean to you.
Think about the abundance and blessings in your home.
Think about what truly matters...
And then we will talk.

In the mean time, I wish for you and your family a happy and healthy home,
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified healthy home specialist

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cleaning is not a product it is a process

There is a missing link in today's cleaning. Not here at Blue Sky Services mind you, we still believe in actual cleaning- we call it residue free cleaning. When we are through cleaning, there should be nothing left behind but clean, beautiful - undamaged surfaces. Your granite should just be your granite, your tile should only be your tile. Clean should be clean!!

Think about the process of:

Washing dishes: washing, rinsing and drying.
Washing clothes: washing, rinsing and drying
Washing teeth: washing, rinsing
Washing hair: washing, rinsing and drying

So what happens if you take the rinsing and drying part OUT of cleaning???

We would be eating off soapy and dripping wet dishes.
We would be wearing sudsy and wet clothes
We would swallow our tooth paste instead of spitting and...
We would all have flat and sticky hair from all that soap residue left behind!!

Do you see where I'm going with this? Life would be messy. There is a missing step in today's clean. What would happen if you cleaned your windows by spraying cleaner on and leaving it to dry? In a very short, time you would not be able to see your front porch.

This is what is happening in our modern fast food of cleaning process: mop on, spray on, spray some more, mop some more- air dry. Sometimes these products we spray and mop on attact soil, sometimes these cleaners are unsafe for our families. There needs to be a removal step!! To clean, actually clean and not just smear around, there needs to be a little thought, a smart process and care should be taken for the our families and the person doing the cleaning's well being. Cleaning may not be a cool topic but it is a essential part of healthy homes and families.

Did you know, cleaning is a process, it isn't just applying cleaner/chemical? When cleaning is done right, not only is the cleaning process gentle to you and your surfaces but there are no chemicals/cleaners left behind! (this is a good thing) Cleaning is not a product it is a process. Surfaces, families and homes should be left residue free. Safe products should be used and they should be used safely!

This month, I'll be posting/visiting with you about residue free cleaning and creating residue free homes. Cleaning is a process, healthy homes are more than just energy efficient. When done right a healthy and truly clean home will:

help our families stay healthy,
extend the life of our belongings
create beautiful homes in the process

My thought for the day- don't put on soapy clothes and for heavens sakes don't put sudsy dishes in the cupboard. If you put cleaner on - take it off, don't leave your homes soapy and wet!

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified healthy home specialist

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grandma's wisdom on cleaning

Because I own a professional cleaning company, most people assume my home is perfect. Maybe this is a secret I should take with me to my grave but here is the truth- it isn't. The fact is no one's home is perfect. The act of trying for perfection is very stressful. This morning, I was e-mailing a friend about cleaning. It seems guilt and judgement are emotions deeply rooted in how clean our homes are or at least what we think others will think about our homes.

The fact is our homes are gifts. This is a place we should be able to deeply relax, enjoy our families and let go of the days troubles. Of course, it should be clean enough to be healthy and look nice enough to let you enjoy it. But to fret and worry and press on to create a perfectly clean home all the time is an act of stress.

Last spring I was in AZ visiting my grandma and grandpa. At the time my grandma was 96 years old. As we were visiting one morning, the topic of cleaning came up. I can't remember why, maybe there was a cleaning task that looked like it needed attention. She told me to not to worry about it, that cleaning would be there all my life, we should spend our time enjoying each other's company. Present at that visit last spring was my grandpa, my mom, myself and my aunt Velma- who as I write this is 102.

We did in fact enjoy the entire visit. Cooking for the sure joy of sharing, we ate with gratitude as thick as gravy and we loved every moment together. Worrying and fretting about a perfect home would have wasted precious seconds.

Two months after that visit my grandmother passed away. This December my grandpa followed her. You never know how wonderful a moment is until it is taken away. So on behalf of our grandmothers everywhere, I beg of you not to fret over the perfection of your home, to let go of any self imposed judgments and go enjoy the day. Cleaning will be there again tomorrow but the moment will not.

As always wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Friday, January 6, 2012

There are two types of residue in your home

Did you know there are two types of residue in all our homes? There is the physical kind of residue and the one which we are all familiar with. It goes by the name of dirt, soap smears, dust, drips, spills and occasionally drool left from our four legged friends. Removing residue from your stone uncovers the essence of your home. When our slate is clean the texture comes alive, the colors are brilliant and it feels true. A clean slate makes our home feel good.

The second and less obvious form of residues in our homes are the mental and emotional residues. They go by the name of regret, worry, fear, longing, disappointments and sorrow. The beauty of a new beginning is it gives you a time to let go of that heavy lingering residue that fills our air. Sometimes this residue gets so heavy it turns into physical residue and lands on our floors. Just as cleaning our slate floors is essential for a healthy and beautiful home, so is cleaning out the residues of our emotions and brains. Deep cleaning isn't only good for our home, it is also good for us. Start this year and give yourself a clean slate - free of all residues.

We have been in the business of removing residue from homes for over 20+ years. Trust me when I say there is a natural and powerful gift in a clean home and a clean slate!!

Wishing you and your families a new year full of clean starts!
Denise Frakes
Healthy Home Specialist
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services