Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

This fall has brought a few new things for our household.  One is that I’ve started teaching as an adjunct professor in the politics department at Southern Virginia University (the school that Husband is an English professor).  It is something I’ve always wanted to do, and am so excited to have the opportunity.  This semester I’m teaching State and Local Politics and it’s been so much fun.  Mind you, it’s been stressful and I’ve been so. busy.  But it is totally worth it.  I feel like having the opportunity to do my own thing, use my degrees, exercise my brain, and generally remember that I am someone besides “mom” has been so good for me.  It’s going so well, I’m already planning classes to teach in the future. 

Another new thing this fall has been sending Thing 1 to preschool.  I wasn’t sure up until August that I was going to do this.  I’m not of the mind that you send a child to preschool just because they’re 3.  I think the choice between early schooling or delayed schooling is very individual (academic, social, and emotional factors are all at play), and there is no one right answer.  When it came down to it, I just really felt like Thing 1 was ready.  And for him it wasn’t even about academics or being social.  He does fine with both things (indeed, is way advanced academically).  My big concern with him was whether he was emotionally… capable.  He’s never really seen either me or my husband as authority figures and I was so worried if he’d see his teachers as authority figures, or if it’d be a constant battle for all of them every day. 

And for sure, the first week every day that I picked him up I was told about how he got in trouble that day.  It was disheartening.  But it started happening less and less and now the reports from his teachers is that he’s getting the hang of things and doing much better.  I’ve seen the difference at home too, where applying structure to our lives has been easier, because he is experiencing it at school.  I feel like enrolling him in preschool has just been the best thing for him.

He’s actually enrolled in two of them.  One is a preschool in our town run out of the local Methodist church.  The ladies that run it are awesome and have been doing it for decades.  I heard lots of really good things about it from other parents, and so decided to enroll Thing 1.  He loves it there.  We are also part of a co-op preschool with a group of moms and kids here in our area.  The moms all take turns teaching and we’ve all pitched in to get the supplies that we need.  It’s been a really good experience so far and Thing 1 loves attending that school as well.  Both schools meet two days a week, so Monday through Thursday Thing 1 gets to go to preschool, and he so looks forward to it every time.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Color Run

A couple of weeks ago, Husband and I (and the Things) participated in The Color Run in Richmond, VA.  The Color Run is a 5K.  The big deal is that as you are running the course, they are dousing you with color.  The color is actually dyed corn starch, and so probably wasn’t the best thing for me.  I had figured it was gonna be fine as long as I didn’t eat any, but as it turns out it was almost impossible not to get it in your mouth.  I paid for it with a wicked stomach ache later in the day.  It was worth it though.  It was SO. FUN.  There were around 8,000 people and by the end of the race everyone was just covered in color, including us.

Some evidence: 

photo collage

Those tattoos aren’t real.  FYI.  Fun for a day though.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… September 24, 2012

Outside my window... It is officially fall!  And it felt like it today.  Sadly, it won’t for the rest of the week really.

I am thinking... about my lack of blogging lately.  I’ve just been so busy.  I need to fit it in though, because it is my "this keeps me sane” hobby.  I feel the sanity ebbing.

I am thankful... that I got to see my sister over the week-end.  And for Camela, the friend that hosted us in Maryland.  AND for her sons, who are much older than mine but were SO, SO kind to them.  The Things had the time of their little lives.  We all had such a great time.

In the kitchen... I discovered that you can do quinoa in the rice cooker, but that you can’t let it go for the whole time, because it cooks much faster than rice.

I am wearing... pjs

I am creating... a calendar for the Things.  So that they can master days of the week, months, seasons, etc.  I have all the materials to put it together, I just need the time.

I am going... to be pretty busy from here on out I think, as far as life goes.  I’m loving teaching and I want to keep doing it.

I am wondering...  about that PhD I haven’t finished…

I am reading... A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, and Uprising by Shelly Crane (*sigh* It’s the same list.  I just haven’t had time).

I am hoping... for a good night’s sleep.

I am looking forward to... fall festivities.  It’s such a great time of year! Also, not going out of town this week-end for a change.

I am learning… to just keep my mouth shut when I need to.  I think it’s just better that way. 

Around the house... there is laundry that needs folding.  Meh.

I am pondering... homeschooling vs. public school.  I used to be so, so sure I was homeschooling, but these days I’m all torn up over the decision.  Luckily I still have time to decide.

A favorite quote for today... The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow. – Rupert Murdoch

One of my favorite things... when Thing 1 throws his arms around my neck and says, “Mom! I love you SO. MUCH!”

A few plans for the rest of the week: all the busy stuff, with some relaxing on the week-end.

A peek into my day:

Am I right?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… September 16, 2012

Outside my window... It’s so autumn-esque.  I love it. 

I am thinking... about Grimm.  We’re about to finish the first season and are excited to move into this season.

I am thankful... that I got to see my parents last week.

In the kitchen... I just had ice cream.

I am wearing... pjs

I am creating... lectures.  It’s where all my free time goes right now.

I am going... to Baltimore this week-end to meet up with my sister.

I am wondering...  why both Things are sick right now.  They’re not going to be sick all winter again, are they?

I am reading... A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, and Uprising by Shelly Crane

I am hoping... to do a couple of more 5Ks (just did one on Saturday, post upcoming) and a 10K in the next couple of months.  I want to be a faster runner.  Right now I’m awful.  Like, 13 min/mile awful.

I am looking forward to... said time in Baltimore.

I am learning… to really dread this prompt.  It always makes me feel like I’m not learning anything.  I need to pick up a new language or something to make it more interesting.

Around the house... we’ve already unpacked and cleaned up from our week-end in Richmond. 

I am pondering... biking more.  Duatholons, maybe?  I need to get my bike fixed. 

A favorite quote for today... History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. - Abba Eban

One of my favorite things... bedtime. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: same as last week, with less birthday and few parents.  But more sisters.

A peek into my day…

DSCN2000
This was not my car, for which I am glad.  It would’ve totally ruined my day. 
But, since it was not my car, I can really enjoy the spectacle of these coworkers sending this guy off to college in style. 
(All people I don’t know, allowing my amusement to remain untainted by how pissed off this guy might’ve been.) 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Homemade Deodorant (semi-fail)

Please read my homemade disclaimer.

body odorI swore I would never do this, y’all.  Here’s the story: I was once in a room full of women and most of them were praising the wonders of homemade deodorants.  The were all going on and on about how well their recipes work and how easy it is to make.  Thing is?  Somebody in that room was deceiving themselves.  At least one of them, possibly more.  There was a heavy odor of BO in the air.  In an effort to protect myself from ever being that person, I thought maybe I would just always buy my deodorant.   

But then I came across a coconut oil recipe, and I couldn’t help but give it a shot.  Coconut oil has the benefit of being anti-bacterial.  As do many other oils, but as I’ve mentioned before, coconut oil also has the benefit of being somewhat solid up to 75 degrees.  Bacteria is what causes BO, so I think an anti-bacterial based deodorant made sense.  I talked myself into trying it.

I started with this recipe, but you have to ignore most of that post.  I’ve complained before about how the is no real link between parabens and cancer, and this poster also throws out some aluminum rubbish.  The American Cancer Society has the same stance on aluminum as they do parabens (check the last link).  And to say that there is a link between an exposure to aluminum and Alzheimer’s is incredibly misleading and irresponsible.  Research has shown that there is a link between aluminum deposits on the brain and Alzheimer’s, that is true.  But it has way more to do with the blood brain barrier than it does aluminum.  The blood brain barrier is a thin layer of blood that coats the brain and protects it from the elements.  There has to be something wrong with the blood brain barrier if you see aluminum deposits on the brain.  If it were healthy, they wouldn’t be there.  And since aluminum is a naturally occurring element found in water, soil, and air (hello?), there is little you can do to protect yourself if something is wrong with the blood brain barrier.  If your blood brain barrier is healthy, you could swallow a ball of aluminum foil every day to little effect. 

ANYWAY…

Using that recipe, I also added some melted beeswax.  It really helped the deodorant to firm up, keeping the coconut oil from getting too soft.  For the most part.

Homemade Deodorant

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 oz (or so) Beeswax

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil together, and then set aside giving it time to firm back up.
Combine the baking soda and arrowroot powder.  Slowly add the coconut oil, incorporating it as you go.  It should end up being fairly solid, but still pliable.

I put this in an old deodorant container and stuck it in the fridge so that it would harden up.  Otherwise I’ve kept it in my medicine cabinet and it has stayed at a good consistency. 

It actually works really well.  I’ve not been stinky at all (Husband will verify this).  As far as that goes, I’ve really enjoyed the results.

Here’s the problem: I did research on coconut oil based deodorants before trying this, and the advice I kept coming across was to apply the deodorant and let it dry before getting dressed.  Otherwise the coconut oil will stain your pits.  I’ve followed that advice pretty diligently.  The thing is, during the hot summer days you sweat.  And then no matter what you did when you were getting dressed, the deodorant stops being dry at some point.  So, some of my shirts have pits stains, albeit I’ve been super careful.  So, I’ve reverted back to store bought deodorant, because it’s just not worth ruining all my clothes.  But, I think I will pull this back out again as the weather cools off and sweating won’t be so much of an issue.  Because if not for that problem, it does work great. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… September 9, 2012

Outside my window... It was such a nice, cool day.

I am thinking... about Thing 2’s birthday this Saturday.

I am thankful... Nut Thins.

In the kitchen... we had ratatouille for dinner. Yum.

I am wearing... capris and a t-shirt.

I am creating... birthday ideas.

I am going... to deliver my first lecture tomorrow.  I’m freaking out.

I am wondering...  if that’s why my stomach kinda hurts right now.

I am reading... A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, and Uprising by Shelly Crane

I am hoping... that I don’t suck as a professor.

I am looking forward to... having my parents here this week.  They are already present, and I’m looking forward to the week.

I am learning… stuff.  You know.

Around the house... I do a lot of sweeping.

I am pondering... getting a new phone.  A fancier one.

A favorite quote for today... Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.  -  C.S. Lewis

One of my favorite things... Thing 2’s voice

A few plans for the rest of the week: Teaching, Pre-school, playing with the parentals, birthday celebrating

A peek into my day (two years ago)…

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Friday, September 7, 2012

NOW it makes sense

I’m not gonna lie.  I barely watched the conventions this year.  My thinking, truly, is that I’ve already made up my mind.  The RNC would’ve have only irritated me and the DNC would’ve just got me all fired up and bade me to start engaging in political conversations that I’d regret later.  I feel like I learned everything I needed to learn about the conventions from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  You know, the news.

clint eastwoodThere was one fantastic bit on The Daily Show when Jon Stewart was talking about Clint Eastwood.  The whole bit was pretty hysterical.  But he ended it with this gem:

“So we owe Clint Eastwood a debt of thanks.  Not only because it was a truly hilarious twelve minutes of improvised awesome in a week of scripted blah, but because it advanced our understanding.

This President has issues, and there are very legitimate debates to be had about his policies and actions, and successes and/or failures as President.  I mean, tune in next week (referring to the DNC).  But I could never wrap my head around why the world and the President that Republicans describe bear so little resemblance to the world and the President that I experience.  And now I know why.

There is a President Obama that only Republicans can see.” – Jon Stewart

Sweet glory, it all makes sense now.  I’ve wondered many, many times over the last few years when conservatives stopped caring about reality.  I feel like it happened suddenly (hello, tea party), but maybe it was a slow descent that I just didn’t see coming.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the Obama that conservatives talk about must be the invisible guy in the chair, because he is not based in reality.

But here is the other thing.  I think they’ve invented invisible Obama on purpose.  I’m so tired of conservatives talking about what Obama has or has not done, as though they haven’t set out to make him fail from the beginning.  Don’t forget that was the goal, y'all.  From his first day in office, the conservative creed was to make Obama a one term president.  And they have stuck by that creed at America’s expense.  Obama has not failed the economy, Republicans have crippled it.  Stop blaming Obama, and start voting people into office who put America’s interest first.  Or else I’m for real gonna end up moving to France.

where are the jobs

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Toothpaste

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 mostly just do this because I’m super cheap.  When looking for recipes I ran across a lot of nonsense about glycerin and stuff in store bought toothpaste.  I don’t care about any of that.  But what you should know is that baking soda is super cleansing for teeth, but can be abrasive.  It’s nice to cut it with something.  Coconut oil is good for teeth because it’s cleansing—as are most oils, but coconut oil is awesome for this because it is pastey at room temperature (under 75 degrees).  Coconut oil is great with the baking soda because it makes the whole thing seem less abrasive on your teeth.

Also, a note about xylitol.  I kept seeing toothpaste recipes with xylitol as the sweetener and didn’t think much of it.  But then a dentist friend told us about how studies have been done on xylitol and dental care, and it is actually really effective against cavities.  They use it much more commonly in Europe and are seeing great results there.  They actually make little candies with it, like chiclets, to give to children for dental care purposes, and those kids get fewer cavities.  Neat.  It is also found in gum brands like Orbit, which is what allows them to claim it is good for your teeth.  Anyway, it’s worth getting your hands on for the toothpaste because of that.  It needs a sweetener to help with the flavor anyway.

Speaking of flavor, the xylitol and the peppermint oil help with that.  But you should know that Thing 1 still calls this “salt toothpaste”.  He doesn’t hate it, it’s totally a term of endearment. (“Are you making more salt toothpaste?!  I love salt toothpaste!” He said that, no joke.)  Both of the Things use it without complaint.  Nonetheless…  it’s palatable and you get used to it, but it’s not minty fresh.  You’ve been warned.

As far as mouth and teeth cleaning goes, it is awesome. Which is the point.

Toothpaste:

3 T baking soda
3 T coconut oil
1/2 tsp xylitol (or to taste. whatever)
30 drops peppermint essential oil

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY… September 2, 2012

Outside my window... I feel like the temps at night should be getting into the 50s now.  But they aren’t yet.  Hello mother nature?  It’s September.

I am thinking... about how I always say I’m gonna go to bed early, but I don’t. 

I am thankful... for chocolate covered almonds.

In the kitchen... I have some chocolate covered almonds.

I am wearing... pjs!

I am creating... a list of reasons I should eat some chocolate covered almonds.

I am going... to head into the kitchen to get those chocolate covered almonds when I’m done with this post.

I am wondering... if I should see the eye doctor about how my contacts keep getting so cloudly.

I am reading... A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, Jesus the Christ by James Edward Talmage, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, and Uprising by Shelly Crane

I am hoping... that I don’t suck as a professor.

I am looking forward to... seeing family in the next couple of weeks.

I am learning… that Thing 2’s two year molars are coming in.  It explains a lot.

Around the house... listen.  It’s all mine.  Closed on Tuesday.  We own it.

I am pondering... spring break.  I do hope we get to do something fun this year.  (And by year I mean school year.  It’s how we measure time around here.)

A favorite quote for today... I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. –Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.  (I swear on my life that I went to the quote generator I often use and this is the first thing that popped up.  How can I not post it?)

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

A few plans for the rest of the week: Oh boy.  One of Thing 1’s preschool programs starts the week.  Class at SVU starts this week, which means that both Husband and I will start teaching classes… mind you he’ll be teaching four and I’ll be teaching one.  And he has a score of other meetings he has to start attending.  Friday we have some fun plans with friends.  Saturday night my parents should be arriving for a visit.  Busy week.

A peek into my day…

DSCN1983

So dirty.  Every day. SO. DIRTY.

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