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A Pinterest Saturday

With a rabid Clemson fan for a husband, I expected to be left alone today, while he supported the Tigers against Florida State. Though Football and cooler weather go together, that’s not exactly how I wanted to welcome the first day of fall. 

Instead, as soon as the kiddos woke up, we got dressed and went to the donut shop to have a donut. Then we crossed the street to the park, where they had the entire playground to themselves. I learned why, since the first sliding experience “cleaned” the dew right off. They had sopping wet bottoms within minutes. Did that stop them? No. They had a ball; I can imagine it would be like at the amusement park but not having to stand in any lines.

We came home and cleaned up then went back out to the grocery store. Yeah, it is one of those must be done items, but again, we enjoyed ourselves. I got a missing ingredient to make one of the Pinterest recipes I planned to test.

Lunch, nap for the little, and a short but lovely visit with a friend, some laundry and now onto the tests. 

Technically, I’m testing three Pinterest pins today: baked eggs, pumpkin cake with apple cider glaze, and  a “woebegon whites” laundry miracle. The first two are finished, but the whites are still soaking. I’ll report back when I know if it worked (for me). 

So the apple cider cake didn’t have a chance to cool before I dug my fork in. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but this pumpkin cake is pretty tasty. And fat free, ya’ll! I may or may not have eaten nearly a quarter of it already. And I am actually envisioning it with my coffee in the morning. Mmmmm.

The baked eggs turned out well — although not uniform in the least. I scrambled some and put whole eggs in the other muffin tin wells. As you can see, those eggs must have come from different mamas! Which reminds me that I forgot English muffins at the grocery store today. Oh well, it would have messed with my $50 savings!

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Enjoy the rest of YOUR first day of Fall, Autumn, whatever you call it. 🙂

Vinegar and Conditioning

I’m not “crunchy” or “granola”—at least not like most people would define those terms. I recycle, sure. But I use regular laundry detergent, wear perfume, and I love driving. My. Car. I’m also NOT one to advocate dreds or not shampooing. I find that gross and actually unclean.

So keep that in mind when I tell you I’ve quit shampooing in the “traditional” sense.

I’ve had pretty rough luck with normal shampoos for a long time. Apparently my scalp is pretty darn sensitive, and shampoos are either too harsh or too weak. I have barely been able to go more than a day in between washing with regular shampoo, simply because my hair is either greasy or doesn’t smell good after a day. Shampoos also tend to leave a residue or make my scalp unhappy in other ways, too, which creates other issues like anxiety when wearing black. And no, Selsun Blue does not work (for me).

For about a year now I’ve been using plain, white vinegar in my fabric softener cup for laundry, and it does a wonderful job. Then I started using it to clean the commode and many other household items. Between vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and liquid castile soaps, I’ve got my cleaners covered. Gone are the harsh toilet bowl cleaners, and I cannot remember the last time I used bleach.

So, I figured why not try something different on my hair, too.

I did a lot of research and found some very interesting recipes for “natural” shampoos. I just can’t get excited about scrubbing baking soda into my scalp or using water only. Pretty sure I’d be accused of having gone on an extended camping trip with no facilities. But then I stumbled onto this recipe. It was diluted more than others, but still had the addition of a couple of random ingredients that I do not (and don’t plan to) keep on hand. The first time I made this, I had major reservations. I halved the recipe to conserve my vinegar, but it would then also fit a plastic 16 oz squirt bottle. The gal with the recipe avoids all plastic, but this gal isn’t taking glass into the shower! To the mixture I added a couple of drops each of spearmint, sweet orange, and eucalyptus essential oils.

Result? I have not had a single moment smelling of vinegar, and my hair still smells ok the 3rd day after shampooing. I could NOT say that with regular shampoo/conditioner.

I have tested both. I’ve used a traditional shampoo and then this vinegar rinse with great results. I’ve also tried a diluted Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap “shampoo” followed by this – with equally great results. I might actually prefer the castile soap, but it must be very diluted, or it is just too drying (for me).

So there you go. A random moment inside my life and maybe something you want to try – or are horrified by. 🙂

Vinegar as a Conditioner

  • Just under 4 cups of hot water
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 3-6 drops of essential oils that make you happy

Make Your Own Chocolate Syrup

I love chocolate milk. The kind sold in the glass jar at Earthfare is easily my favorite. While I’m picky about chocolate milk, I’m even pickier about chocolate syrup.

 

 

 

 

 

When our first child was born, he was nursed and bottle fed both breastmilk and formula. He liked both but obviously did not enjoy regular cow’s milk when that transition was made. We dabbled with flavoring the milk only very slightly, and he was more open to it. Over the last few years we have tried different chocolate flavors and made some interesting discoveries.

First of all, we used Ovaltine exclusively, because it had vitamins and minerals. We felt more comfortable knowing we were fortifying him with something sort of nutritious, until we realized that it had loads of artificial colors.
Eww. I’m curious why you need red and blue when chocolate is brown naturally?!

So we switched to completely nutritionally-void chocolate syrup to avoid the colors (which he is sensitive to). We hardly use a teaspoon, but it can be enough! I disliked the added flavors and HFCS in something that is so simple, it just doesn’t need a whole lot more than chocolate and sugar.

We tried (and it is still my current store-bought favorite) the Midnight Moo (organic, even!) from Trader Joe’s.

 

 

 

 

 

But it still has weird ingredients. (Excuse the chocolate smudge!)

 

 

 

 

 

So I decided to try making my own. Turns out it is super easy. The hardest part was filtering through the many varying recipes on google. As I do often with a recipe, I tinkered, and determined that the following tastes very chocolatey and sweet enough.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (used Trader Joe’s)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
dash of salt (to taste)
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla (made my own via Passionate Homemaking)

In a small pot combine all ingredients except vanilla. Wisk while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool add the vanilla. Stir and store in a squeeze bottle (my old Chocolate Moo bottle) or container of your choice. It does thicken considerably, so you need to be able to get to it with a spoon or shake it!

Then just enjoy!

Hating on Religion?

Have you seen the “I hate religion but I love Jesus” video, done by Jefferson Bethke? If not, maybe you should: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY&feature=player_embedded) It has flooded my facebook and twitter feeds with mixed comments. While I usually don’t put much stock in these kinds of posts, for some reason I clicked on it. And it was impactful. It seems to be just what people are looking for, BUT…

While the spirit of it struck me as beautiful, something about it didn’t sit right either. I’m no theologian; moreover, I wish I was more studied in the scriptures. Even though I liked a lot of Bethke’s message, I was left with a worrisome feeling that maybe I shouldn’t like it so much.

Ever felt that way?

So I started researching…well, googling, to find some smarter people on this kind of subject. Thanks to a writer/scholar/minister (Kevin DeYoung) who validated my concern and explained the reasons with grace and backing of scripture. But he didn’t just knock the video, the artist or the faulty theology and leave it at that. He went quite a step further and actually talked with Jefferson about his poem. The dialogue between the two, shown in the email snippets in the below post link, is just full of grace, humility and a genuine love for one another as well as trying to get Jesus’ message shared…accurately.

Oh, how we could all learn from this and strive to be better at this kind of dialogue.

Enjoy the full post of the conversation here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/01/14/following-up-on-the-jesusreligion-video/

A lesson from dust bunnies?

This is a rant. Or a scream for lack of sanity. Or a sigh of resignation.

Tonight I was supposed to be at two places at once. Just a bit earlier I sent the final draft of a proposal that I spent the entirety of this last weekend working on. And there’s a conference call at crack of dawn-thirty (7:30) in the morning to confer about said proposal. The kiddos will not be going to school, so guess who gets to participate in this conference call with me? Yep, Won’t that be fun? And professional? *sigh*

I’m annoyed at my life right about now, but there’s no one to blame but me. No one else accepted any of this. Just me. Yeah, very annoyed—angry even—at myself. See, that is NOT what this freelance, consulting gig was supposed to be about!

As I type, and think, I get more frustrated about what I’ve let happen. I’m an admitted workaholic, as I continue to prove to myself and family and some friends who know this about me. And now I think that I purposefully let this get in the way of allowing me to do what I (thought I) wanted to try and do: be more mom, less professional. I think I might be kind of afraid of being “just a mom.” Ha. That’s crazy.

No, what is crazy is that my goals of late have all been missed. Except for work deadlines, everything else–yes, everything else–has fallen to the wayside. My volunteer duties. My family. My mental health. My relationships with others.

Not all relationships. I’ve helped foster the relations of the dust bunnies. Yes, they have enjoyed—are enjoying—this time of my household neglect. While I’ve shirked my relationships, they have cultivated theirs. Looks like a reunion happening under the desk right now. Maybe there’s a lesson there. Or maybe not.

I moved!

It’s moving day. And “virtually” no mess. Haha…so punny! Geez, I shake my head at myself all the time. Ah, well….laughter is good medicine, therapy and all things beneficial to the human spirit.

But I did move blogs. Name change and new host. Blogger to WordPress. Hopefully, this will be a good thing.

>Blogger’s Block

>The curse is formerly known (quite well in my college term paper writing days) as writer’s block. However, I feel like since I’m not writing with a pen, that this is more of blogger’s block. *sigh* Sometimes I’m such a dork.
No, really.

So rather than ponder what to pen, er, type, I started thinking about what I’ve been trying to accomplish recently. Yep, goals.

As an aside, you should know I’ve got amazing typing skills. Even left-handed with a babe-in-arm. I am actually holding baby girl right now as I type. She has this uncanny leaning tendency, so only my right arm will do. But I digress.

What I was doing was thinking and surfing the internet, and I stumbled across one of my favorite blogs–one I only recently (joyfully!) discovered–and a highly relevent topic.

If you haven’t met Pioneer Woman, then I’m super excited to be the one to introduce you. If you already know of her, then you know what I mean. But if you really do know her, then I’m just jealous.

Pioneer Woman rocks. Out on the Prairie. She homeschools. She can cook. And take amazing pictures. I love her site. Go, now. Fall in love.

What I stumbled across, however, wasn’t a drool-inducing recipe. It was her lessons learned about blogging.

When  I started this, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. But I kept feeling like I should be doing it. Only I felt like it had to have some special identity, a brand or something. Then it dawned on me that this blog is me. My personality. My own brand name. So it can be whatever I want it to be; I can write about whatever I want, whever the mood strikes.

It is pretty liberating to feel the pressure of “perfection” lifted. And with it the blogger’s block.