Friday, August 31, 2012

When Did My Bed Get So Big?

So, we’ve come to this point again, when I move a sweet baby out of my bed and instead of feeling relieved I initially just feel kind of sad.  The thing is, last time I was pregnant with Thing 2, and new that it was just a matter of time before I had a sweet baby to do some nighttime cuddling with again.  Also, this time I just get my bed back.  There are moments I enjoy it, but then there are lots of moments that I just want to kiss some squishy cheeks.

Alas, it was just time.  Thing 2 was ready for the move into Thing 1’s bed (something that Thing 1 has been asking for forever) so we’ve taken the leap.  It’s only been a week or so.  I’m still rocking him to sleep (at his request).  We still have a lot of waking at night, and I spend a lot of time in bed with them some nights.  Which makes me cranky in the morning because it’s hard to sleep with two little boys rolling all over you…  but I know this period will pass too.  When we moved Thing 1 to his own bed, it took a month or two for him to settle into it.  He eventually stopped needing to see us in the middle of the night.  I know that time will come for Thing 2 as well, and then I’ll probably feel waves of sadness about that. 

But, in good news, they are so cute:

DSCN1986

A note about the nightlight (Thing 1 calls them dream lights.) you see on the pillow: Thing 1 has been asking for a dream light forever.  And not just any dream light.  He very specifically wanted one that would make pictures on the walls.  I don’t really know how he got the idea into his head (I suspect an certain episode of Curious George) but he went on and on about it for weeks.  He was so excited when we bought that one, he couldn’t wait for bedtime.  He often falls asleep lying on his back with it on his chest, staring up at the stars and moon on the ceiling.  Bless his heart.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Book of Mormon Girl

The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American FaithI finally read the book.  I’ve been meaning to for awhile now.  I think I was avoiding it because I knew it’d make me face some things.  I was right.

Joanna Brooks, the author, is a liberal, feminist Mormon.  I am a liberal, feminist Mormon.  There are a lot of things about that identity I ignore.  It’s like I have a compartment inside my head.  I have a swarm of thoughts and emotions that I store away in there.  You see, I have to do this or I find myself having a hard time fitting myself into the culture that I belong to.  Most Mormons are so steeped in the Mormon tradition that they have a hard time separating tradition from doctrine.  And when you question a tradition it is, for many Mormons, equal to questioning a God given truth.  And if you question one God given truth, you might as well question them all and admit yourself an apostate heathen.  We’re big on the quick descent.  I suppose it’s not so different from many other faiths that have their Orthodox and Unorthodox sects.  Mormons just have a habit of disavowing the unorthodox. 

There were so many things Brooks said in this book that resonated with me.  Among them was the idea that her heart was on concrete and that a cinder blocked had been dropped on top.  I know that squeeze.  Which is why I have my compartment in my head.  If there is something in the Mormon tradition that I don’t like, don’t believe, don’t advocate… it usually goes into the box.  Because I’ve learned that when I say these things out loud it’s only met with a small spectrum of reactions.  And none of them are generally, “That is an interesting point, and something we should really reevaluate as a church.” or even, “I don’t agree, but I respect that you see it differently than I do and we both still belong here together.”  No.  There is usually just lots of awkwardness and distancing mixed in with some disdain and coldness. And then there are those who just don’t give up telling you why you are wrong, wrong, wrong.  Every chance they get.  It’s so exhausting.  So I try to avoid that by keeping my questions, comments, and concerns in the box.

But the box rattles, and makes a lot of noise.  I never forget what is there and what is inside.  I just fit into my culture better with the lid on.  My heart still feels the concrete/cinder block squeeze.

Sometimes I think I can relieve the squeeze by spending time with friends outside of my culture.  Friends that are more likeminded in ways that my fellow Mormons are not.  But when I’m with them I have a different box.  We’ll call it the Mormon indicator box.  I hide away the indicators so that these people will forget that I am Mormon.  I don’t want them to think I’m like all the others.  And I’m embarrassed about what they think about all the others.  And I’m afraid they won’t give me the opportunity to show them that we are not all the same.  And I hate the conversations that start with, “How could you belong to a church that…” because even though I know the answer to that I just don’t think it is the kind of thing you can make another person understand. 

So I have these two boxes and these two parts of myself.  And I think they are the concrete and the cinder block.

So I finally read The Book of Mormon girl and I weep a lot.  And I realize how much sorrow and loneliness I’m constantly feeling, and how it’s been so long that I’ve been feeling that way that I barely even recognize it anymore.  And when I finished the book, I knew that I should be feeling positive that I wasn’t the only one (which I am so grateful for). But instead I just kept thinking about the concrete and the cinder block, and the sorrow and the loneliness.  I knelt down and prayed to the God that I know and I told him about the concrete and the cinder block and I said, “These are the things that my conscience tells me and it seems like everything I believe puts me at odds with another part of me.  But when I study and pray about these issues, I always come up with the same conclusions.  If I am wrong, please tell me.  Because I don’t want to feel like I’m at odds with everything any more.  Just tell me what part of me is wrong and I’ll fix it.”  And that is when I feel an overwhelming sense of love and peace.  And God speaks to my heart and tells me that there is no part of me that is wrong and that there is nothing I need to fix.  And that I can take everything out of both my boxes and organize all the pieces together into the whole of me. 

In my head I know that means that I may lose people from both ends and it makes me so nervous.  But in my heart I think, maybe that is a good weeding out process.  Maybe the people who can’t accept me for all of me are the concrete and the cinder block.  Or maybe just the idea of them and my own fears are the concrete and the cinder block. Either way, I’ve got to embrace my brand of liberal, feminist Mormonism without pretense. 

The squeeze is starting to feel not so tight already.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Homemade Pore Strips (FAIL)

Please read my homemade disclaimer.gummy bears

In that vein, the recipe I’m going to discuss below requires some gelatin.  I happened to be in a natural food coop when I was looking for the ingredients I needed.  Not a vegan place, mind you.  They sold meat and cheese.  Lots of animal products.  I couldn’t find gelatin.  I asked an employee.  I have never received such a look of disdain in my whole life.  She ever so condescendingly replied, “We don’t carry gelatin.  It’s made from some not so good stuff ya know.”  Collagen from animal bones and other parts, yes I know.  Did I mention they sold lots of meat?  Meat that comes off of animal bones?  Gotta do something with them.  Waste not, want not, I say.  In the end she tried to sell me some agar agar for like $10 an ounce.  I declined, bought my other things and left.  Went to Kroger and got some gelatin.

Anyway…

You know those Biore Pore Strips?  Tres expensive, right?  This is a homemade facemask that produces the same results.  I used the recipe found on the petitelefant.com blog.  I followed her instructions exactly, so there is really no reason to retype it here.

I was pretty pleased at first.  When I peeled the mask off, my skin felt so smooth and awesome.  My pores were visibly cleaner.  Pretty exciting stuff.

For most people the story ends here.  My sister, for one, loves this face mask and gets great results.  When you read the comments to the petitelefant post, you’ll see scores of people who just find it fabulous.

I was not so lucky.  Within 24 hours of doing this, the skin on my face just rashed out.  Blemishes galore.  It was everywhere and it was awful.  The only other time I’ve seen anything like it was when I tried getting my eyebrows waxed in college.  Only that was more localized around the eyebrows.  This was infinitely more horrific as it covered a much larger area (my face).  Blessedly, the new method I’m using to wash my face is super gentle and healing, and within a week the worst of it was over.  But seriously.  Just a heads up, if your skin is sensitive at all, I’d forgo this.  Otherwise, it is super.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… August 26, 2012

Outside my window... It’s dark.  And not fall yet.  But the weather is better than it was so I’m trying not to complain.

I am thinking... about getting a pedicure.  And by that I mean painting my own nails.

I am thankful... for the aforementioned cooler weather

In the kitchen... A friend made THESE for me yesterday.  They were so, so good.  I made myself another batch today.  By far the best gluten free thing I’ve had yet.

I am wearing... pjs!

I am creating... lesson plans.

I am going... to try and relax as much as possible this week.  It’s the last week of summer break.

I am wondering... why I didn’t start watching Downton Abby earlier.  I’m in the middle of the third episode of season 1 and it is what I generally think about in my spare time.

I am reading... Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, and River Secrets by Shannon Hale, Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, and The River by Michael Neale

I am hoping... for a closing this week. It is looking very, VERY promising.  I just don’t want to jinx it.

I am looking forward to... Christmas music.

I am learning… some self acceptance.  New post forthcoming.

Around the house... I love hardwood floors.  I really do.  But I do a lot of sweeping.

I am pondering... this episode of Grimm that I’m watching while I type this up.  I can’t figure out what this guy keeps turning into… 

A favorite quote for today... Beware of those who feel obliged to prove their own patriotism by calling into question the loyalty of others. Be skeptical of those who attempt to demonstrate their love of country by demeaning its institutions. – Hugh B. Brown

One of my favorite things... Chocolate covered anything.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Going to the park.  Stuff like that.

A peek into my day…

DSCN1982

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Legitimate Complaint

There has been, of course, a lot of talk about Akin in the last couple of days.  Not surprising, really.  It was the ultimate political gaffe.  As well as personal.  Universal, really.

And I appreciate all of the outrage.  Really, I do.  But I think that much of it in the first few days was focused on the wrong part of the gaffe.  His own “apology” has certainly focused on the wrong part. 

I mean, really.  *OF COURSE* there is no such thing as an illegitimate rape.  And I think Akin knows that most people see it that way.  I’m not entirely convinced that he doesn’t think we’re all wrong.  In his apology he said he was speaking off the cuff, and so used the wrong words.  It is my opinion that when people speak off the cuff, they actually end up saying exactly what they believe.  And he wouldn’t be the only one.  There are scores of normal looking people all over the world that on the inside have the ugly, distorted trait of believing that some rapes are not legitimately rape.  They’re wrong and the outrage over Akin’s use of the term ‘legitimate rape’ is totally justified. 

But I don’t think it is even the most disturbing part of what he said.  And I feel like it took a a day or two for people to really start grasping that. 

The female body has ways to try shut that down.

Are you freaking kidding me?  I’m not quite sure how a uterus is supposed to distinguished invited from uninvited semen.

From what I understand from doctors….

What doctors?!?!  Because mostly I’m just aware of the studies done that show that tens of thousands of women are impregnated via rape every year. 

Look, I get where the idea comes from.  Women who live in chronic states of anxiety or depression have a harder time conceiving than more content women.  That’s proven.  But acute anxiety—a pretty dull term to describe what a woman might be feeling during rape—does NOT effect fertility.  Any doctor who says otherwise is full of it.

And that there are people who believe it?  I just don’t know what to say to that.

And now Akin is all up in arms that he’s being taken to task for “one word” that he says he misspoke.  He doesn’t seem to get that everything he said was so totally disgusting.

It’s so much more than one word, sir.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Homemade Facewash

Please read my homemade disclaimer.Olive Oil Bath

While looking for something else on the internet a few months ago, I came across what people call the “Oil Cleansing Method”. It intrigued me, so I tried it.  I kind of love it, y’all.  It’s based on the idea that oil dissolves oil and that most oils are actually really cleansing.  Which actually isn’t a new idea.  Rich people in ancient Greece used to bathe by lathering themselves up in olive oil and having their servants scrap it off.  I don’t have any servants, so I just do this on my face.

Homemade Facewash:

1/4 C Olive Oil
3/4 C Castor Oil
10ish drops Tea Tree Oil (optional)*
10ish drops Lavender Oil (optional)*

Here is the routine: With clean hands, take about a tsp of oil and rub it into your skin.  Keeping rubbing (in upward motions for a facelift, they say, but I don’t know how effective that is) for about a minute.  And then steam your face, with oil on, for a minute or two.  Then, wipe the oil off with a warm, wet washcloth.  Viola!  I use witchhazel as a toner afterward.

When I initially found this recipe, it was equal parts olive oil and castor oil.  But then I read somewhere that if you have oilier skin to increase the castor oil, or with drier skin to increase the olive oil.  And THEN I also read someone say that with equal parts, she didn’t have any need of using moisturizer.  Thing is?  I feel like moisturizer is a really important means for putting some SPF on my face every day.  I am dangerously fair skinned, after all.  So, I use the mix for oilier skin (even though I don’t have it) which leaves me pretty balanced when I use my daily moisturizer.  You can do as you see fit.

This method has been working really well for me.  I just do it at night, and then rinse my face with water and tone with witchhazel in the morning.  The routine has been proven through three trials.  The first I’ll save for a whole other post, because an interesting experiment gone wrong… badly, badly wrong.  The second is my current battle with eczema, which usually does also affect the skin on my face.  It’s been minimal.  (And made me want to try it on my whole body.  But, like I said, no servants.)  The third is that I tend to break out a lot during the summer when it is more hot and humid, and that has also been minimal.  If I do get any blemishes I just treat them with a little bit of tea tree oil and it clears up quickly.

The best part is that I used to spend a good 10 to 15 dollars on facial cleanser and toners every month.  I made a batch of this three months ago, and am still going through it.  Cha Ching!

*You’ll want to make sure that you use therapeutic grade essential oils for this.  I get mine HERE.  They have quality oils at a great price.  And they aren’t even paying me to say that.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… August 19, 2012

Outside my window... it has been so much cooler and will continue to be for the next couple of days.  I’m hoping for an early fall.

I am thinking... about how busy things are going to be once September hits.  Husband back to a full schedule of professoring, I’ll be (adjunct) teaching a course, Thing 1 will be in pre-school four days a week.  We’re gonna have some busy days when all three of those things line up.

I am thankful... for the aforementioned cooler weather

In the kitchen... I want to try my hand at gluten free cupcakes.  But, I’m not feeling awesome today, so maybe next week-end.

I am wearing... denim shorts and a purple shirt

I am creating... ideas for the aforementioned class I’ll be teaching.

I am going... to have to finish unpacking these last few boxes.  Why is it so hard?!?

I am wondering... if maybe we could all get some sleep tonight.  (I’m looking at you, Thing 2)

I am reading... Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, and River Secrets by Shannon Hale, The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks, and Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, The River by Michael Neale (I know, I know.  This list is getting out of control.)

I am hoping... for good things for someone I know.  I know that is super vague.  But, it is someone who I used to be close to but have parted ways with.  But I know they’ve had some really good news lately and I’m hoping against hope (what does that phrase mean? why am I using it if I don’t really know what it means?) that it all pans out well.  Husband thinks I’m crazy for continuing to care and keep tabs on someone who has made it clear they want no part of my life, but I can’t help it. 

I am looking forward to... Autumn.  Have I given that answer before?

I am learning… to really and truly accept that I’m not going to have any more babies.  Maybe.  Right?

Around the house... You Guys.  I *still* don’t own this place.  Thing is, everything has cleared the appropriate channels.  We’re good to go.  But, OH the WAITING!

I am pondering... NaNoWriMo.  Am I going to do it this year?  I’ve decided against it the last couple.  I don’t know.  We’re going to be so busy this fall.  If I’m going to do it I need to start preparing right now.

A favorite quote for today... An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. –Victor Hugo

One of my favorite things... Quiet.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Getting things read for September.  This will be in the plans for next week as well, only next week I’ll be more frantic about it.

A peek into my day…

This is a picture from just over a year ago (because I’m kinda obsessed with looking at pictures “from a year ago”). Thing 2 still felt like a baby then. He was almost 1. Now he is almost 2 and is all little boy. It’s the good news and bad news.
Fun and sad.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Parah Ryalin

What an exciting week it’s been, amiright?!?  The announcing of a veep candidate is like Christmas for wepaul ryan political junkies, and the week following is like the week after Christmas—wherein you spend all your time playing with your new toys… until you kind of get bored with them.

Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan elicited a maniacal giggle from my initially.  Mostly because I was immediately looking forward to The Daily Show’s review of it.  (It did not disappoint.)  But also because it was just as much as a wee democrat like myself could hope for.

Look, I see why Romney chose Ryan.  (Besides the potential for such great signs, of course.)  Romney is ensconced in vagueness.  So lost in his own world of generalities and ambiguity, that I don’t think he could even find his way out if he wanted too.  He either talks around the point, or changes his mind on it in five minute increments.  Not so, with Ryan.  Ryan is admittedly in the only prominent Republican in play that speaks in details and agendas.  He is the only conservative in Washington who, over the last few years, has been willing to put pen to paper and come up with a real plan.  He is the yin to Romney’s yang. 

Here’s the part that makes me giggle maniacally:  Ryan’s plan is RIDICULOUS.  And I’m not just saying that because I enjoy being on the same side as Nobel prize winning economists (which I do).  But mostly I’m saying it because it doesn’t make any sense.  And there is no way it will ever be taken seriously.  It is about as likely to make it through the halls of Congress as a group of streakers.

And then today there was this article.  HE is blaming the current crazy partisanship on Obama?!?  Are you freaking kidding me? My head might explode.  Man is a Tea Partier in Centrist’s clothing.  Ryan has publicly said several times that he is an avid Ayn Rand reader. And don’t we all know by now that she was mostly a wackadoodle?  That’s why the Tea Party intellectuals identify with her so well.  Enough said. 

Either way, word is that the selection of veep has energized the party base.  And that sentence can be said about just about any veep for either party in any election ever.  The real test is time… but just a few months of it.  We’ll see how it goes.  I remain optimistic.  I think he’s a lot like Sarah Palin.  A lot.  The main differences are his ability to articulate political concepts that he understands and that he HAS political concepts that he understands.  (zing!)  But, mostly he is a hardline conservative that is going to do nothing to win the moderate vote.  When people start talking more about his record and delving into his ideas, he is going to lose the confidence of Independents who might’ve been on the fence about voting for Romney.  So, unless Romney has another way to reel those votes in….  well, like I said, I remain optimistic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Parenting, part 4

Several months ago, I read the book Growing Happy Kids by Maureen Healy. I’ve been meaning to post my ruminations for a while now.  I posted some of the generals about how much I liked it on my book blog, but I’ve been trying to think about how to apply these things more directly to my own children.  This post is really only going to touch on a very small part of this book.  If it is interesting at all to you, I’d highly recommend you read the book.

Healy talks a lot about inner and outer confidence.  Outer confidence is the fleeting kind.  A confidence in the ability to play the piano well, which is lost when a hand is broken.  Inner confidence is more lasting, the kind that knows your self worth is not solely dependent on your ability to play the piano.  I’ve grown concerned about the fact that I lack that inner confidence on many levels.  How can I teach it to my children?  Healy says that’s okay, that it’s pretty normal, and that we can learn it together.

Here is my favorite thing about this book: she doesn’t just postulate on the importance of confidence for our children.  She actually gives real life things you can do.  This is how I’ve been able to set some goals for my own family.  You need to know she has five building blocks of confidence.  They build on and support each other.  So my goals are laid out like this:

Biology – We do pretty well with all of these things. As far as the first building block goes, my Things are poised for success.  Which is good.  Because a tired, malnourished child is unlikely to feel confident about anything.

1. Feed the Things healthy, real food.
2. Make sure the Things get plenty of physical activity.
3. Make sure the Things consistently get adequate sleep.

Beliefs – I think some of this is happening without me thinking about it, but I think I need to put more purpose and intent behind it.

1. Healy talks about sharing a “spiritual tradition” with your child, whatever it may be.  I’m raising the Things in the same belief system I was raised in.  Even though I may struggle with it at times, I know that the community of it—and having a belief system in place to work with—has been beneficial to me.  My goal is to continue to teach my children what I believe, and why I believe it.  To give them something to believe in.
2. I’ve got to change my own self talk.  I’ve been known to say things out loud like, “I’m such a jerk.” “I’m such an idiot.” etc.  That’s got to stop.  They will see themselves the way they perceive that I see myself. 
3. I need to start doing a daily affirmation of sorts with my children.  I remember once hearing Dr. Phil say that he used to end each day by telling his sons how lucky he felt to be their father, because they were so amazing.  That is the kind of moment I’m talking about.  Healy says this moment needs to be something that will allow the child to see himself as powerful and capable.  And it needs to happen every day.  I spend so much of the day scolding and correcting (necessarily), I need to remember to be uplifting too.  I often will ask my Things, “Do you know that I love you?” and the answer is always affirmative.  That’s a good start, but I need to do more.

Emotions – A lot of this will be more applicable as the Things get older, but I don’t think it is a mistake to start working on it now.

1. I need to provide opportunities for my Things to do the things that I know they do well.  Giving them opportunities to succeed will help them to develop a sense of confidence that they can recognize.
2. Healy suggests doing yoga or balancing exercises to help children find a sense of peace and stillness.  My Things are too young for this yet (they can’t possibly be asked to sit still) but I can begin working on it nonetheless.  They do so love to join Husband and I when we are doing yoga.  It would be an easy thing to do often, if I would just remember to include them.
3. Healy recommends talking to your children about their thoughts, and teaching them to have confident ones.  No “I can’t”s or “That’s too hard.”s.  Thing 1 rarely says things like this (Thing 2 – never) but I can correct it and talk to him about it when he does.  I’m sure it will be more of an issue as they get older.

Social – I feel like this has a lot to do with how they interact with the world.  That is, of course, the hardest thing to control and the finest line to walk.  If you intervene too much, you’re doing more damage than if you don’t intervene enough.  You have to step back and to allow them to learn the confidence of navigating the world on their own.

1. Teach self acceptance first.  Healy recommends some positive self talk, something they can recite to themselves everyday.  It should be something affirming that strengthens a sense of self worth.  I need to come up with something easy and fun, that is age appropriate right now.
2. Surround your child with people that will be loving and kind.  People that will be uplifting.  I feel like this is the hardest, because I often have little control over it.  But when I do, I take action.  I will not let my children be around adults that will treat them poorly, or make them feel less than they really are.  They can, and should, learn from their peers at some point that not everyone is nice because they need to know how to deal with that.  But they are too young right now to be taught by adults that they are anything other than awesome.
3. I need to get the Things’ bedroom decorated awesome.  Having a space of their own in our home matters.  Since we just moved, it is a perfect time for me to get that in order.

Spiritual – This helps to create a sense of belonging, and I think we all know that matters.

1. Healy talks more here about a belief system, and mostly just the importance of believing in something greater than yourself.  She encourages you to include your children in your belief system.  Even atheists can teach their children about the power of being part of humanity.  But whether it is that, Buddha, Jesus, the Universe…  believing that we are a part of something awesome bolsters confidence.  I believe God put us all on earth for a reason—that there is something he wants for us to accomplish for ourselves and others.  Teaching my Things this will give them a sense of confidence about their own lives.
2. Phrase this however you need to for your belief system—Healy says to teach your children that whatever greater power you believe in, is IN them too.  For me this goal is about teaching my Things that they are Sons of God, that he is their Heavenly Father, and as such they have inherited some of His divine traits.
3.Healy says to create a daily spiritual practice as a family.  Husband and I have set a goal to make sure we pray with as a family everyday.  We always pray over meal times, but that falls short of what Healy is saying here.  We need to do something better with this.  Which is why I’ve made it a goal.

Something that has always helped me to feel more confident is having a list, which is why I’ve written all of this up.  My plan is to reread this book every few years so that I can retarget my goals to my Things’ needs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner

Please read my homemade disclaimer.

Okay, so… really this isn’t so much homemade shampoo and conditioner as it is hair rinsing agents.  But the truth is, that is all we need.  When I first heard about this concept I thought it was nuts, trust me.  But the more research I did on the idea, the more sense it makes.  The shampoo and conditioners that we generally use these days strip our hair and scalps of oils.  All oils, including the ones that our scalps are meant to produce for the health of our heads and hair.  We wash that away.  And because we consistently wash it away, our scalps start over producing those oils.  And then we are required to wash it away more often.  It is a vicious cycle.

Enter the homemade rinsing.  With this method you are cleaning your hair and scalp in a gentle way that leaves it capable of conditioning itself.  And then second rinse does some conditioning as well. 

And you guys.  Seriously.  Not only is it so easy, it is so, so, SO cheap.  You KNOW I love cheap.

baking soda apple cider vinergar

Homemade Hair Cleaning:

Rinse 1 (shampoo-ish): 1 C water, 1 TBS Baking Soda

Rinse 2 (conditioner-ish): 1 C water, 1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

Two squirty type bottles for use.

Oh yes.  That is it.

When I was doing research for this, I read a lot about how it can be kind of rough at first.  Your scalp is used to over production of oil, and when you aren’t stripping it as much, the end result is oily hair.  At least at first.  Everyone said to give it a month or so, and things will even out.  Lots of people who do this say that they only need to wash their hair a couple of times a week after everything evens out. 

I’m gonna admit that hasn’t been my experience.  I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now.  For awhile I really tried to just do at least every other day, but by the end of the second day I can feel the oil texture taking over my hair.  I don’t know if I just have an oilier head, of if it is just taking a long time for the oils to normalize, but I find I get the best results just doing it every day.  And best results they are. My hair is soft and shiney and awesome.  I can’t believe how great it is.  Better than the best shampoos I’ve ever used. 

I have considered, but haven’t tried yet, increasing the amount of baking soda in the first rinse.  Some people with greasier hair, or even just in the first few weeks when oiliness can be a problem, have had great success with that.  You can also, just FYI, decrease the amount of baking soda if you end up with lots of fly always with this method.  You can also increase the apple cider vinegar for the same problem.  Every head is different, so you just need to play around with the blend to get the best results for you.

Like I said, I haven’t messed with the formula any.  Mostly because washing every day with it as is has been awesome.

And, please, even if I did this twice a day and to mix up a new batch once a week… 1 TBS baking soda and 1 TBS apple cider vinegar?  Yeah. This is cheaper than buying V05, if you know what I’m saying.

Husband, for the record, has been doing this about twice as long as I have, and he washes his hair twice a week with great results. We also watch the Things’ hair with this method, and even just once a week is fine. 

I’ve also played around with adding some essential oils (just a drop per cup of water, less is more in this case) to the blend, which is fun.  There are several that are especially good for hair, depending on what you’re going for.  If you are treating something specific, make sure you have theraputic grade oils.  If you’re just trying to make is smell nice, anything is fine.  But with the vinegar, you should know it is pretty always going to smell like vinegar.  Your hair, however, will not smell like vinegar once it dries.  I promise. If you add essential oils, you have to make sure you rinse it out thoroughly, or you will end up with oily feeling hair no matter what.

Try it.  You won’t be sorry.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… August 12, 2012

Outside my window... the temps have not been as hot as they were last month.  Weird for August, but a welcome relief.  Now, if not for the insane amount of mosquitos this year, going outside might be nice.

I am thinking... about what to have for dinner.  Normally something that I’ve squared away by 6pm.  Alas.

I am thankful... that no one threw up in the car today after we spend a total of three hours on winding roads.

In the kitchen... gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  They are SO GOOD, y’all.

I am wearing... pjs

I am creating... too many excuses in the past few days.

I am going... to miss the Olympic fervor.

I am wondering... why Virginia + August = eczema

I am reading... Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, and River Secrets by Shannon Hale, The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks, and Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage

I am hoping... to keep Thing 2 indoors for a couple of days, so that we can reduce the number of bug bites on his person.

I am looking forward to... preschool.

I am learning… to keep a straight face when people speak seriously about things I find ridiculous. 

Around the house... it’s more quiet now, after bedtime.  I live for the quiet after bedtime.

I am pondering... cracks in the marble, if you know what I mean.

A favorite quote for today... Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.—Rick Warren

One of my favorite things... napping.

A few plans for the rest of the week: meh…

A peek into my day…

This picture isn’t from today, but it was the same as what I saw today.  In fact, when sleeping in the car, this is the position that Thing 1 always assumes.  Every. Time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Right to Bear Ridiculousness

After the Dark Night Rises shooting spree, gun control reemerged as a talking point.  Of course, I kept hearing conservatives say it “wasn’t the time” to discuss gun control.  Right.  Like September 11th, 2001 was an inappropriate time to discuss national security?  Give me a break.

Since people began talking about it anyway, I’ve seen a few memes on facebook that have really irritated me.  (See how I should just stay off facebook?)  I don’t understand how people (1) find these amusing or (2) think they are clever.  You show your salt when you post crap like this:

gun control 2

Indeed.  You do realize that this boils down to, “My neighbor has differing views than mine.  Please punish them with violence.  I will not only stand by while you do, I will stand by watching gleefully.”  I’ve seen this posted by people who claim to have the same religious values I do.  But how can that be?  I find this disgusting on every moral level. Also note, I don’t know a single liberal who wants to ban all guns.  If you really think that is the agenda, you’re not paying attention… I’d even argue you’re going out of your way to not pay attention.

Another one:

gun control 1

*sigh*  It’s true, criminals break laws.  Mind you, without laws it is awfully difficult to prosecute people for things that aren’t criminal unless those laws are in place.  You follow me?  I’m not sure that having fewer laws is really the answer for having fewer criminals.  This meme should read, “Anarchy. Please tell me how that works out better for everyone involved.”

The Guardian (British) recently did a piece about gun ownership.  I think it highlighted just how ridiculous Americans are about their “right to bear arms.”

gun per capita

That’s right, Americans keepin’ it classy.  We’ve narrowly beat out Yemen, and left everyone else in our dust (gun powder residue?). How embarrassed proud we should be.

Get a grip, folks.

To be clear: I don’t think gun control would have necessarily prevented the Dark Night Rises tragedy.  There are always going to be crazy outliers who find a way to hurt other people en masse.  That is a whole other issue to work on.  But, I do think someone like Trayvon Martin, for one, would still be alive if we had tighter gun control laws.  And we’re ridiculous for thinking our right to own guns (whatever we want and in whatever amounts we want we them) is more important than the lives that are lost by them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Homemade Eczema/Bug Bite/Anti-Itch Cream

If you're here from Pinterest, welcome!  Check out my "Home Made" label (labels found to the left) for other fun stuff you might be interested in!

Please read my homemade disclaimer.

I’m in the throws of some pretty nasty eczema, and so whipped this stuff up a few days ago.  To be fair, it doesn’t do a whole lot for eczema other than sooth.  To cure eczema you need to know what is causing it, and for each individual that could be 1,001 different things.  You can sooth one spot and make it go away, but five others flare up in its place.  If you deal with eczema, you know what I mean.  Either way, this stuff is great for soothing burning itchiness that often accompanies crazy flare ups, while you’re dealing whatever issue is causing it.

Now for bug bites…  a couple of days ago I complained on twitter and facebook that Thing 2 and I are like catnip for mosquitoes (bugnip?) and that there is nothing that truly prevents it (several people responded that they experience the same trauma, which is why I decided to post about this).  Even the stuff that works the best (a homemade bug repellent spray—perhaps a different post for a different day) still allows some bites for he and I.  But this anti-itch cream?  It knocks those bites out of the park.  After I made it a few days ago, I treated Thing 2’s legs with it before bed.  He was so covered in bites (it was several days worth. what am I gonna do?  not let him play outside?) that I mostly just smeared it on like lotion and rubbed it in.  In the morning there were only remnants left of the bites—mostly from the bites he’d been scratching at for days.  I’ve continued to treat those spots with the cream, because of its healing properties as well.  Such awesome relief for the little man. 

And it is pretty darn simple:

ANTI-ITCH CREAM*
1/4 C Coconut Oil
10ish drops lavender essential oil**
10ish drops tea tree essential oil**

Just stir it all up.  Done.

Lavender is great for soothing the itch and tea tree fights the infection.  Coconut Oil is a great carrier for this because it has anti-inflammatory properties and especially because it is paste-y at room temperature, and hardens when kept cool.  I keep it in the fridge, because it starts to melt at 76 degrees and we keep the house at 78 in the summer.  Even kept in the fridge (where it gets pretty hard) it is fairly easy to rub some on your finger and apply to the bite.  You can also heat it in the microwave (on low, or “melt” setting) for about 20 to 30 seconds if you want it to be more paste-y when you apply it.  Yet another idea would be to add a little bit (decreasing the amount of coconut oil by the same amount) of another oil to the mix (olive, grape seed, etc.) to keep it looser.  You could store it in the fridge then without it getting so hard.  I thought of that after I made it, or mine would’ve been that way.

If you have trouble with rashes/eczema, you'll also be interested in my Homemade Bath Oil post.

*I would credit this to the site I found it at, but I’ve seen this idea all over the place.  So mostly just the internet is my source.

**You’ll want to make sure that you use therapeutic grade essential oils for this.  I get mine HERE.  They have quality oils at a great price.  And they aren’t even paying me to say that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… August 5, 2012

Outside my window... we had some lovely rain this afternoon.  I’m so over summer.

I am thinking... about the Olympics.  I freaking love the Olympics.

I am thankful... for air conditioning.  I don’t care what you naturalists say.  My life is better with it.

In the kitchen... we had pasta bake tonight.  Yay for hidden veggies.

I am wearing... pjs

I am creating... a plan to get my boys into the Olympics.  I think swimming.

I am going... peel my skin off soon.  Currently waging an epic battle with eczema right now.

I am wondering... when the Things will turn into real humans.

I am reading... Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, and River Secrets by Shannon Hale

I am hoping... the eczema doesn’t keep me from sleeping tonight.  Again.

I am looking forward to... closing on this house. 

I am learning… that being a bug bite target is genetic.  And that I’ve done that to Thing 2.

Around the house... we’re getting settled in.  There are still some boxes, but mostly we’re all set.

I am pondering... gun control and how stupid Americans are about it.

A favorite quote for today... People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel ~Maya Angelou

One of my favorite things... Big Brother.  Yes, I watch it.  Stop judging me.

A few plans for the rest of the week: unpack a box a day at least. Get back into old routines to get the Things feeling more normal.

A peek into my day…

DSCN1975
Virginia Museum of Transportation=Thing Heaven

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Stainless Steel Heaven

We are all moved in to the new house and are mostly unpacked.  We are so happy and excited to be here. 

BUT, we are STILL waiting for closing.  It was, by all indication, supposed to be this week.  But then a couple of days ago we got word that they needed one more document from us.  It’s a document we’d already turned in a couple of months ago (which makes the third or fourth time we’ve had to hand something over that we’d actually already handed over) but whatever…  said document was apparently holding things up.  So, keep your fingers crossed for a closing next week.  The owner gave us 30 days to live here before closing, so we’ve got some time just in case…  but I’d rather just close now and own this lovely home.

I finally took a picture today.  Don’t hate me, people who have been hounding me for pictures.  It really is just one picture.  But, it’s of the kitchen.  I think we all know that is the only picture that matters.

DSCN1979
I’m only mildly embarrassed that this picture was taken after dinner, but before after dinner clean up. How shamed can you be when you’ve got such beautiful appliances?  I’d elope with that fridge if I could.

Also, there is this:

DSCN1970
Some people just find moving exhausting.

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