Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's in the bag.

I am a faithful follower of the blog Enjoying the Small Things written by the talented (and beautiful!) Kelle Hampton.  I love her frank, tell it how it is writing. And her photography is great. Doesn't hurt that her children are adorable.

I was reading her post today on her Bag of Tricks that she always has on hand for her girls. A bag that contains little trinkets and treasures that occupy, soothe and delight her girls. I am sure every parent has something similar and if not, should. Kelle then went on to talk about her personal bag of tricks and asked her readers to share what's in their bag of tricks. What lifts you up when you're down? What are those go-to things/places/people you can count on to bring you happiness?

For me it's chocolate milk. Plain and simple (and very sadly missed these days). If I am crabby, angry, sad, tired, stressed or just blah, a big glass of cold chocolate milk is all I need to bring me back to the here and now. It's happiness in a glass. Sanity in a glass. Love in a glass. Patience in a glass. Strength in a glass.

A few other things in my bag include:
Fresh air. Spring or Fall air is preferable but I am not too picky.
The smell of freshly cut grass
Gummy bears/worms
A good book 
Driving with the windows down and the music turned up
A spritz of my favorite perfume
Music. Lots of music
A walk or run with the company of a four legged friend
Tequila+lime+salt+good friends
and so much more. 

On this cold, wet, SNOWY spring day I needed to think about the simple, good things in life. Remember way back in January (seems like a life time ago!) when I told you my word for the year is abundance? The things I just listed are my daily abundance reminders. Every day items/occurrences that remind me of how abundantly full my life is. Full of life, love, laughter, challenges, struggles and triumphs.

Sounds like an excellent reason to keep Cheetos in the house. And tequila. 

What is in YOUR bag of tricks? 

I take that back.

Apparently Mother Nature didn't like the shout I gave her the other day. We currently have several inches of snow on the ground. 

But hey, at least the wind died down! 

Plus the snow moisture will give the grass a boost once it melts.

And it's made my 2.5 year old more willing to wear pants; "Uh oh, snow Mama! I guess I better wear pants today".

So take that snow, we're happy you're here! Ha!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signs of Spring

There is no doubt about it, Spring has officially sprung.

We have tulips poking their heads up in the garden, chalk art gracing our sidewalk, the beginnings of a sand collection outside the front door where we dump shoes/boots after trips to the park, daily requests (if not hourly) to go to said park, windows thrown open to let in fresh air and spring-y smells and claims of "but I don't need to wear pants, it's SPRING out!".

Welcome Spring, we missed you. Now be a dear and don't go all crazy on us. And by crazy I mean daytime temps below 40, nonstop rain or (dare I say it?) snow. 

That's my girl.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good clean fun.

A few weeks ago my good friend Dara (Hi Dara!) gave me a jar of yellowish, somewhat gelatinous, liquid. It smelled very clean and slightly citrus-y. It was homemade laundry detergent!

And get worked! Really well! Clothes came out clean and smelled great but without the overpowering smell that most detergents leave behind.  So I decided to whip up a batch myself. And we are now set on laundry detergent for the rest of our lives. Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration. We may have to make another batch when we're in our 80s. 

It is ridiculously easy to make and cheap to boot. Like pennies per load cheap. Take that Proctor & Gamble. 

Dara found the 'recipe' on Nature Moms Blog.  Like I said it's really easy to make and it makes A LOT

Here's what you need:
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap (found in the laundry soap section)
1 c. Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda (Not baking soda!! Also found in the cleaner/laundry section)
1/2 c. Borax (same section)
5 gallon bucket
Clean, empty laundry detergent container
Essential Oils (optional)

1.Grate the bar of soap and throw it in a saucepan with 4 c. water over med-high heat. Stir until all the soap is melted.
2. Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water. 
3. Add the melted soap/water, washing soda and borax to the 5 gallon bucket.
4. Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with water. Give it a whirl, cover and let it sit overnight to thicken. 

The next morning fill your empty laundry detergent container half full with the soap mixture. Fill it the rest of the way up with water. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil if you so desire. 

And there you have it, homemade laundry detergent! 10 gallons worth once it's all said and done. Make sure to shake it before each use as it kind of gels up. In our HE machine we use ~ 1/4 c per load. 

If you're looking for a homemade cloth diaper detergent, I highly recommend this one!
Do you use any homemade cleaning concoctions?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Land of 10,000


Have you heard of the research that says we should all aim to take 10,000 steps a day?

In the 60s, a Japanese researcher was trying to come up with a way to improve the health and fitness of people in Japan.  He figured the average person took 3,500 to 5,000 steps per day. He reasoned that if they took 10,000 steps a day they would be healthier, thinner, happier and all that jazz. So pretty soon everyone in Japan was wearing pedometers and taking the stairs. Turns out he was right. The more steps people took, the more active they were and ultimately healthier (duh). Too bad it took the good ol' US of A a few more decades to catch on. But better late than never, right?

So what does that have to do with me? 

Last week I bought myself a fitbit
A nifty little fitness gadget that I had been eyeing up for a few months. It's a pedometer and fitness tracker that you wear every day. It counts steps, computes distance, estimated calorie burn and overall activity level. You then sync the fitbit to your computer and it uploads your data to the fitbit website. The website is pretty neat in and of itself. You can enter foods eaten, input additional activities or exercises, journal and more. There is an online community as well. 

You can also wear your fitbit while sleeping to track how well you sleep at night. Which is kind of a moot point for me at this point since Penny still wakes occasionally during the night to nurse. 

And my husband hogs the covers. 

And sometimes the dog goes ballistic at 2 am when a party bus unloads a few houses down and two guys start yelling at each other in the middle of the road as their friends egg them on while turning their music up even louder. 

(Wow. When did I turn into a crabby old woman who gets pissed at the shenanigans of the after bar crowd? Oh yeah, when I stopped being part of the after bar crowd. Kids will do that to you. And driving a mini van.)

Back to the fitbit. 

So the goal is to log 10,000 steps a day. Which kind of seems like a lot. Ok, it is a lot. Approximately 5 miles worth of steps. But I figured my step count had to be up there considering I have a child who never stops moving* and another child who can't quite move on her own. So between chasing and carting, I move around a lot.

Or so I thought. Turns out I take around 5,000 steps per day. Which is still not bad, but a long way from 10,000. Now I will say, the four days I have been wearing it have been pretty cruddy out so we've been in the house for the most part. I am sure once we are back to playing outside and our daily dog walks that number will be much higher.

But I would still like to increase my step count to get closer to 10,000 every day. Not because I think it's some sort of magical number but because the higher my step count, the more active I am (again, duh.). And coming out of this very cold, long winter I can use all of the activity I can get! I have gotten into the bad habit of plopping down on the couch and opening my computer anytime I walked by it. Not good for anyone involved. Not to mention my couch, the poor thing has a permanent Lindsay sized butt imprint on it. 

So with that, I am going to close the computer, get off my butt and do a few laps around the house cleaning up as I go. Not only has this little gadget motivated me to move, but my house will probably be cleaner. I said probably. Don't hold me to it. 

If you're interested in getting yourself a fitbit, you can order directly through the fitbit website or from Amazon or REI. (I got mine at REI using my member rebate, 20% off coupon and a store credit. Final price? Free. Score.) Word on the street, er, the interwebs, is that it's better to order from Amazon or REI. Quicker shipping and better return policy.  

How many steps do you think you take in a day? 

*I would love to strap a pedometer on Olive and see how many steps she takes in a day. Pretty sure she takes 10,000 steps before lunch.

I was in no way, shape or form compensated to write this review. The fitbit people have no idea who I am. The words are my own. Just like the butt imprint on my couch.