Saturday, April 23, 2011

Campy Babies

Annabelle is getting to be known as quite the little flirt around here.  Every morning when she see's Grandma for the first time she gives the biggest grins and waves.  Its quite charming, really. 

Soon after Annabelle started this show for her, Grandma started calling to call her, "my little campy baby."

I was a little confused at first. Campy baby? I mean, we do like camping . . . but . . . I just couldn't find the connection in my head fast enough. 

Apparently, back in 'the day' Campbell's soup printed these adorable advertisements:
How could you not buy their soup after seeing an ad like this?  Its not fair, there are no defenses against a face like that! 

I am greedily picking up as much of the often forgotten and seemingly 'unimportant' histories that my Grandma spills from time to time, from the little things like  "Campy Babies," to the big stories of family history I had never heard before. 

Soon enough all these little pieces I am gleaning will find their way into my book. When all the unpacking finally gets done, and I can spend my 'free time' (the glorious moment when all three are napping) writing, instead of tediously unpacking and organizing.

My Little Campy Baby (and yes, that is chocolate all over her face, not Campbell's soup):

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cooking With Hair {Shampoo Winner}

Using only natural hair products is starting to feel more like cooking with my hair than simply washing my hair.  First, it started with the tea in my homemade shampoo which I adored, so I've stuck with it for the last several weeks.  Tea, in your shampoo? Yes, it works. So much so, I felt the need to share the love

Speaking of which: Congratulations to Mrs. Jennifer for winning my totally random and self-hosted giveaway!!  Thanks for playing! You didn't leave me an email so I am left with no way to contact you about addresses and such.   Let me know how to contact you asap so I can send you your loot!  

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The hair washing didn't just stop with the tea in my hair.  Oh no.  I realized I hadn't yet branched out into the world of conditioners.  I knew there were many options out there, but I didn't know where to start.  My requirements  were: something easily accessible,  easily replaceable, therefore it must already be in the house without me doing an extra shopping trip, and that I could eat it.  

Yes, I said eat it.

Why the sudden need to have hair care products that are safe enough to eat, you must be wondering? Well, yes I am crazy. But beyond that, I've been reading up a lot on all the chemicals that are put into our skin and hair care products, and I was a little bit horrified.  If you haven't yet, I would pick up a copy of Toxic Beauty.

You're overreacting, you say? Well, maybe.  The thing I am certain of, though, is that our skin is the largest organ of our body.  Anything you put onto your skin absorbs directly into your bloodstream.  If there are toxins that get absorbed directly in your bloodstream where do those toxins go?  They continue cycling through the bloodstream, and stay in your body. That's where.  When we ingest harmful chemicals through our food, we at least we have our liver and kidney's to help eliminate the harmful products from our bodies.  Not so when you put it on your skin.  It has no where to go but in.

In a nutshell, these are the chemicals that I am worried about being in my skin and hair care products (click on each to find out more about them if you wish, and the reasons I am concerned about them):

I have read many articles, listened to many presentations, and I have come to the personal decision that I want to do my very best to get away from these chemicals as much as possible for my family.  Call me crunchy, call me crazy, whatever you call me, I've been called worse, I'm sure.

Where was I? Ah yes, natural conditioners. 

I started with yogurt.  On a sabbath morning. I quickly scanned a list of natural conditioners, and saw that yogurt was on the list, and stopped reading. Big mistake.  Easy peasy, I thought, I already have tons of plain yogurt for the girls to eat.  Off I pranced like a naive school-girl going on her first date.

I shampooed my hair like normal, then put in the conditioner for half an hour, rinsed it out thoroughly and then quickly got ready for church since I was running late. Read: I used a hot blow dryer to dry my hair.  Read: Nasty, horrible rotten dairy smelly hair.  I tried my best to fix it, but my best just wasn't good enough in the short time I had before needing to leave for church.

It wasn't pretty, ya'all.  My sincerest apologies to all of you who were forced to endure the stench wafting from my albeit beautifully soft and luxurious locks that fateful Sabbath morning.  It won't happen again, I promise. 

I came home and fixed the problem by dousing my hair in baking soda, and washing my hair again with my homemade shampoo.  The smell was gone, and my hair was deliciously soft and smooth.

You're welcome for learning the lesson the hard way for you. 

I went back to read the directions on natural hair conditioners slower and wouldn't you know it, they all say to use the 'conditioner' before you shampoo your hair.


Once I got that minor stinky-kink all straightened out, I've grown to love my weekly yogurt conditioning routine.  I've since added in some lemon and honey which also helps with the rotten dairy smell, and my hair is gloriously soft and shiny.

Sometimes I forget if I'm cooking with my hair,  just good ol' straight up cooking, or washing my hair.
The line is getting a little blurry.

Next time I'm going to try this yogurt conditioner recipe. Mmm delicious enough to eat, no?  Except I've learned my lesson about number six: condition before shampooing! Unless you like smelling like rotting dairy.

You're choice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Happy Place

You know when you have a million things on you're mind, and as you lay in bed at night all the things you could have said, and should have said, or should have done, or still need to do run through your mind a mile a minute? There is so much to think about, and process, and before you know it you look over at the clock and instead of 10:30 like it said when you climbed into bed, the digital lights scream 12:59 at you, and you can't imagine how that much time went by with you just laying in bed thinking.  And your mind is still racing with a million thoughts and you just can't fall asleep no matter how tired you are because: you just can't stop thinking?!

Or is that just me?

Anyway. When I get to that point that I just have to escape from my own brain for a little while I force myself to what I like to call, "my happy place." 

This is my happy place:

Well, not the book, but the whole idea that the book is about. I read the it the first time in seventh grade, and have re-read it many times since, not just this book, but the whole series.  The sixth and final book just came out and my friend bought the hardback as soon as it came out, read it and now I get the chance to dive back into this world that I've missed so much.  Although, I must say, I always thought authors would get better as they get more experience and practice, and I don't believe Auel has, her books have only gotten increasingly worse.  The Land of the Painted Caves 
(don't worry Caren, I didn't read the back cover still!) is amazing to me only because of the characters and the setting. It whisks me away to this world that Auel created decades ago that takes me away from all the troubles of reality. Even if the writing is more than sub par.  I don't mind the repetition and recitation of all the uses of each and every herb that the characters come across.  Actually, I think I love that part the most. I feel like I really can survive on my own, and heal myself after reading these books if I were thrust out in the wild myself. Well, if I actually knew what the plants looked like, that is.
As I lay in bed at night stressing about x,y, and z, I remind myself to pretend that I am Ayla of Auel's Earth Children series (no, not my niece). And in a moment the troubles of the moment melt away as I transport myself  to the middle of the steppes of Asia and the plains of Europe during the last Ice Age, where I am forced survive on my own. The stories I create are always different. Sometimes I build an entire town, a new and amazing civilization, or I invent the wheel (just about the only thing Ayla has yet to do in this series) and I become the most revered and important woman of all time.  These stories I create in my mind soothe me  to sleep every time. They sooth me so much that usually just as I've found a shelter, hunted down and killed a deer with my bear hands, tanned its hide using its own brain (did you know each animal as just enough brain to tan its own hide into soft supple blankets or clothing?), I've drifted off into sweet dreamland.

I understand that most people's 'happy place' does not involve imaging gutting a poor innocent deer, and smearing its brain over its skin, only to wrap yourself in said skin for warmth and protection.  I suppose I have more unresolved issues than the average person that still need to be worked out on a comfy couch. . .

What about you? What is, or where is, your 'happy place?'

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

13 and 33 Month Pictures

I'm so behind on blogging about the girls, there's not nearly enough time these days to do it justice. 
I've been meaning to write something up about these pictures, but I don't want to forget to ever post them, so here they are, the beautiful daughters I have at 13 and 33 months:
Annabelle poses for me when the camera comes out.  She knows what the camera means, and she struts her stuff, showing off all her many varied, and beautiful, and hilarious expressions.
Eleanor, on the other hand, does her best to pretend like I don't exist, and does her very best at ignoring me.  When the camera comes out and she doesn't want her picture taken, I become invisible, and my pleas for holding still and smiling for just a second fall on deaf ears.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Curse of the Passport Photo {And an Unrelated Giveaway}

Everyone I know has gone on a cruise but us it seems (no,  I'm not jealous or anything).

Ok you got me. I am. At least I used to be. That is, until we planned a cruise trip for this summer.  That's right. You heard me. Us. A cruise. This summer.

Shh! Stop screaming, you'll wake the babies.

Which means that I need a new passport. We're not going anywhere  exotic, but we will be crossing the border into Canada, eh?  Yes, an Alaskan Cruise.  Finally, after all our summers of working the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishing, we're going to actually get to see the state from a tourists perspective. 

June can't come fast enough.  Oh, sweet vacation how I long for thee!

Check it out, its not just any cruise we're going on, its a Christian Edition 30th Anniversary Celebration Cruise. 

"Your cruise will include exclusive on-board concerts, Celebrity's new "Savor, Discover, & Renew" .. . .great culinary experiences, enrichment and wellness, pre-paid gratuities, and one staff member for every two guests . . .plus, all the magnificence of Alaska!"

Psst. There are 40 cabins still available. Come!
Seriously, come! Except if you're a weird creepy stalker who wants to hurt and or kill me, then no - go away, you can't come.

Wait a second, where was I? Oh yes: passports.  I haven't been out of the country since I had my name changed.  It was time for a new one, anyway. My old picture was pretty much a nightmare.  You be the judge:

Sorry for the horrible picture quality. It is what it is.
 The hair? Yes, that was a perm.  I thought it looked great. I'm still not sure what I was thinking back then (and not just about the hair).  The only thing going for me here is that I actually look awake and happy.

And here is today's passport picture.  Look at my eyes. Look closely. Those are the eyes of a mother with three years worth of serious sleep deprivation. Do you see it?  Yes, I really am asleep. I have finally mastered the art of being asleep while appearing to be awake. 

Isn't it funny how passport photo's have such strict rules about how to take the picture exactly 'so,' to try to make you look exactly like your picture, yet they the picture always manages to never look like you?

I mean, if you've forgotten how I really look, lets take a quick look back at a recent photo to compare, shall we? 

Notice the head tilt. I can't stop myself from tilting my head when taking pictures. Just a little to the right.  I know my best angles.   I'm sure I even walk around with my head tilted slightly to the right. So forcing me to look straight at the camera for the passport picture when that's not what I'll be doing in real life, well its just not smart.

Really, I'm not even sure I'm the same person in the passport picture, and its me! How is a complete stranger suppose to figure out that that person in the picture is me?  I hope they let me into Canada, ya'all. I'm a little concerned.  

So concerned, I think I'll host a giveaway (my first!) on a completely unrelated topic:

 That's right, you guessed it: A make-your-own shampoo kit!
Giveaway Includes: A bottle of Dr. Bonner's Baby Mild castile soap, your choice of herbal tea, a funnel and an empty shampoo bottle, and the instructions on how to make the shampoo for yourself.

Seriously, after making and using this homemade shampoo, I am in love, and I feel the need to spread the love.

This shampoo is better than any other homemade/organic/chemical-free shampoo recipe I've tried in the past month.   Best of all, I love how it smells (don't get me started on the smells I endured in this journey).
I'm just getting started making my own shampoo, so this giveaway here is your basic 'start-up kit,' however you can add in essential oils, change up the herbal tea to suit your own hair needs, or change it up however you desire. The sky is the limit!

The rules:

1. In the comments section tell me one thing that has changed about me since I took my first passport picture. Or you could also tell me about your passport picture horror. Or how you make your own shampoo. I'm open.
2. You must leave some way for me to contact you (aka a valid email in your comment), so I can let you know you won.
3. Also, you must also be a follower of my blog.  I'm exclusive like that. 
4. Get yourself a bonus entry by following me over at Just The Everyday 
5. Only open to U.S. residents. Sorry internationals, I have to use this passport picture to visit you, and I'm going to hold it against you. Also, I don't think I even have any international readers. I don't think this one even matters.

Giveaway ends Monday, April 18 (yes, the day taxes are due - don't say I didn't warn you) at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. I'll announce the winner that Tuesday.

Thanks for playing!

(Disclaimer: This is not some paid advertisement for Dr. Bonner's Castile Soap or herbal tea, they have never heard of me. I just happen to love the soap and tea separately, and used together made into shampoo. That is all.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things Loved in March

March was a hard month for all of us.  Maybe one of the hardest months I've ever had, since I was a teenager at least.  I can't really say that there was a whole lot of things loved in March, because there was so much that I didn't love in March. But I don't want to do a "Things Hated in March." That's just depressing and negative, and the list would be too long for just one post anyway. Plus, I want to focus on all the positives of the month, because there were many.

1.) This little girl took her first steps in March. Not much, but a few, just to prove to us that she could, but that she did not in fact wish to get around on her feet as her main method of self-transportation.  Those first baby steps were thrilling, even if they were very few and far between.
2.  This other little girl, whose been having such a rough time with the move is still such a big helper and a sweetheart.  She has a servants heart, and I love watching her clear Grandma's plate from the table, bring her a bowl of ice cream, find her Sea's candy and give it to Great-Grandma without asking for or taking any herself, and keeping Grandma's popcorn bowl continually filled so she doesn't have to get up or even ask for seconds.  "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake," 2 Corinthians 4:5
3.)  The Love Comes Softly DVD Series.  Once upon a time I read the book series, and loved each and every one. I was so excited when the movies came out, but I ended up only watching one or two, and not even the first one in the series.  Luckily for me, my Grandma owns the whole set, and we've watched all but one in the series so far.  They're corny, and just about end with a marriage in each one, but I love them.  And I love that I have someone to watch these with who appreciates them as much as I do, because Brandon can only endure a few minutes of each before getting up to find something better to do. 
4. Nugget Market.  It is right next to where my Grandmother has her weekly, hour-long hair appointment, so while she get's all dolled up, I don't have to waste any time driving to the store to get my shopping done.  It is a beautiful market.  Very "Whole Foods" like, but cheaper, and more 'homey' feeling. The workers there are some of the nicest and most helpful I've ever encountered. They give food and balloons to the kids to make them happy (not at all to get them to ask their parents to bring them back. Though Eleanor does keep asking to go back to "Nugget" . . .), and always help me out with my groceries without asking. They might be slightly more expensive than some stores, but the experience of shopping there (and not driving to another shopping center a couple miles away, wasting the hour time to shop) is totally worth it.

5. I mentioned before how I loved Dr. Bonners Castile soap in peppermint, but I found my new favorite 'flavor:"  Baby Mild.  I can actually use it on the girls without worrying about them being overpowered or hurt by the peppermint (which, let me tell you - if you wash your whole body with peppermint: be warned. Its very awakening).  My next step is to mix this soap with some herbal tea to make shampoo. I'll get back to you on that later how it all turns out.