Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preparing for a natural birth

I've been attending an amazing prenatal yoga class the last few months and it has made all the difference in my pregnancy. I LOVE this class. I leave feeling so relaxed and peaceful. Our awesome teacher usually begins class by helping us choose an intention. She usually quotes Buddha or some famous yogi to get us inspired. A few weeks ago she read this Lakota prayer and I felt so connected to it. I looked it up and finally printed it out so I could read it each day.


With each class, I usually have a mantra that I repeat to myself throughout the practice. I've collected several favorites that mean a great deal to me which I hope will be helpful during labor. I believe this prayer will be meaningful as well.

While this was intended to be said to their own Deity, this prayer relates so much to what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. "Teach me how to trust the blessings of my spirit." What a beautiful thought. Knowing my gifts and trusting those is something I need to work on.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hippie hair

The last few months, I've seen pins and links floating around the internet about using alternatives to shampoo. After seeing so many articles, I gave it a chance. This trend is often called the "no-poo" method. Now I don't really believe that the ingredients in shampoo are comparable to poop. I was attracted to this trend because (1) I like the idea of eliminating unnecessary chemicals or ingredients I don't understand; (2) I've had to wash my hair everyday or every other day due to grease since I can remember. I barely have enough time to shower, let alone wash, dry and style my hair everyday. (OK, if you really know me you know that I usually skip the styling step. Whatever). ANYWAY, I was mainly attracted to the idea that I wouldn't have to wash my hair as often and have it still be clean (or at least appear so???). Also, the idea of spending pennies every month on my hair was appealing. I started this as an experiment and wanted to really give it a chance. 

Wanting to keep it simple (and sidenote: washing your hair with eggs, applesauce or honey just sounds crazy) I stuck with a baking soda wash and an apple cider vinegar "conditioner". Basically, I would take a tablespoon of BS and massage it into my scalp after my hair was wet. I would let it sit while I washed my body etc and then washed it out very thoroughly. Then I separated my hair into 3 sections and dipped each section in a apple cider vinegar/water dilution (2 tablespoons per cup of water) for several seconds. Then I washed that out thoroughly. 

Every article I read talked about a "transition period" where your hair gets super greasy but you have to hold off another "wash" until at least 4 days. (Otherwise the baking soda would probably dry your hair out). 

I took out the big camera every few days to document. Don't laugh at my lack of selfie skills.
 Directly after drying after my first "wash." It was super tangly after I got out the shower. And it just felt dry. But smelled like...nothing. (Nate will agree). VERY static-y. My thoughts: mmm, keep pressing on.

A day after my second wash (5 days after my first wash). Not too shabby. I never really felt like it was very greasy until the 4th day (when I planned to wash). I did start to notice a waxiness at my roots. I couldn't easily run my fingers through my hair at the base. 

Second day after my second wash. Not looking bad, but getting frustrated with the waxiness at the roots.

After two weeks since my first wash, I started researching the waxy weirdness at my roots. I figured I should be about over my transition period. A few articles mentioned that hard water can cause issues with the whole process. Basically, our (very, very) hard water was reacting with the baking soda and causing the dry, waxiness. (A simple solution would be to get a water softener but since our landlords didn't bother to get one while their own children lived in this house, I didn't waste any time on calling them). So I tried at my next washing what some suggested, making a distilled water and baking soda solution. I did exactly as suggested. I massaged this solution into my hair before I even got it wet in the shower. I tried to be really thorough. I didn't let it sit, I washed it out immediately. Then I did my normal apple cider vinegar/water conditioner. But I'm starting to wonder if rinsing my hair with water from the shower head just canceled out all the effort with the distilled water?

At this point, I was getting frustrated. I wanted to keep this simple but now I have to buy distilled water to wash my hair? It just seemed silly. But it did make a difference. My hair was softer directly after the distilled water wash. 

Now I'm on day 2 after my third baking soda wash (first wash with distilled water). And it feels softish. But already starting to feel icky. My hair is very static-y and very dry at the ends. I know I could use a trim, but the ends just feel and look awful. I did buy a boar hide hair brush which is supposed to help distribute the sebum (natural hair oils) throughout all your hair. It seems to help!

But gosh! I actually miss a thick, rich lather of shampoo in my hair! It's so easy and nothing to figure out! You just wash and you don't have to worry about the chemistry of your hair. But I did have to wash a lot. So I'm gonna stick it out a few more weeks to give this no shampoo thing a real shot. I think the next time I do a wash, I'm gonna kick out the apple cider vinegar and just use normal conditioner. And if I don't like this baking soda thing after a few weeks, maybe I'll look for a cheap natural shampoo. Or maybe a homemade shampoo? Or maybe I'll just go back to the fake stuff!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jeni's Homemade Granola Bars

 My sister-in-law gave me this recipe a few years ago and I must have made it wrong back then because I never really liked it. Luckily, Nate talked me into trying it again recently and now we love it! This has replaced store-bought granola bars in our house (normally a staple for every grocery trip). I love being able to make these! And they are delicious! The best thing is, you can tweak the recipe to fit the tastes of your family.

Jeni's Homemade Granola Bars
(my edits in italics)
Makes about 12 2.5"x 5" bars

2 C oats
1/4 C brown sugar (I use 1/3 C)
1/4 C wheat bran or flax seed (optional, I've only tried wheat bran)
1 C flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 C honey (I use 1/4 C)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C olive oil
1/3-1/2 C applesauce (depending on how moist you want your granola. I use closer to 1/2 C)
2 t vanilla or almond extract (Not a fan of almond, so I can't comment on that)
2 t cinnamon
Mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins, nuts etc to taste (We're boring and have only ever added chocolate chips but we use 1 C or 1/2 a bag).

Mix all dry ingredients together by hand. Then form a well in the center and add all the wet ingredients, mix by hand. Then add your chocolate chips or whatever else. Pat onto a greased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, depending on how hard or soft you want them. Let cool. Cut up and freeze extra. (We store our's in a large Ziploc in the cabinet and they're usually gone within a couple of days!)

***
Honey is expensive, so I add more brown sugar and less honey. Thus, I need to add a little more applesauce to make up for the moisture lost with half of the honey. Make sense?

Let me know if you try these and what you add in! I need to try some more fun add-ins! 


Sunday, January 26, 2014

How great thou art!


When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees, 
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze, 
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, 
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, 
How great thou art! How great thou art!

How Great Thou Art verse 2
LDS Hymnbook #86


Photo taken last October on the Squaw Peak trail

Monday, December 9, 2013

My favorite painting and an outing to the MOA at BYU

Last week we went to the new Carl Bloch exhibit at the MOA at BYU. Some of the paintings are on loan from a private castle/estate in Denmark and have never been loaned out before and will never be loaned out again. Pretty sweet we got to see them! I shared with Nate that while he feels closest to God outdoors, among His creations, I often feel closest to God viewing religious art (especially this one). Carl Bloch and others at this exhibit have a beautiful gift that speak to my soul. So glad we went.

Brian Kershisnik's Nativity 
I loved seeing this painting too (I think it's part of their permanent collection). It's larger than life, literally. And I love that it gives a realistic portrait of Mary nursing, with midwives looking on (as I believe it is unlikely in a city as large as Bethlehem that she did it all alone) and Joseph's prayer of gratitude. I find it interesting to think about all the unmentioned people that must have been involved: family and friends that Mary & Joseph traveled with, the innkeeper, midwives etc etc. And that contrasted with what we can't see, the numberless angels singing praises to our newborn Lord. I would love to have this in our house. I haven't been able to find prints of this. Only reproductions for $1400+ soooo..... 

We walked around a bit reminiscing with a mint brownie and old-fashioned donut. I made Nate drive all over campus so I could see the new buildings. Bridger enjoyed chasing the ducks! And while I am really jealous students now have a Chik-fil-a in the Cougareat, Nate and I agreed it's probably for the best it came after I graduated. I would have weighed 200 pounds. 

While in the Cougareat, I had some awkward eye contact with an old flame from before I met Nate. I couldn't help smile as we walked past, because here I am with my hunky husband with our adorable toddler on his shoulders. Just a good moment once again realizing I am so very happy with this path I have chosen. 

Also, I am so excited to take Bridger to the renovated Bean Life Museum this spring! It's gonna look amazing! I took some paparazzi photos as we drove by.
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude

The last two years I have done a weekly post of things I am grateful for during November. That did not happen this year. I blame it on the toddler. So despite that and my lack of daily FB posts of gratitude, I am a grateful person.


I'm thankful for the perfect two little hands and two little feet we saw on the ultrasound last week. So comforting to know he is growing healthily and well.

I'm thankful for the little toddler lips that kiss me on the lips for longer periods of time everyday. He cracks up afterward each time, like he knows this is getting awkward. Love him.

I'm thankful for the strong hands that work for us everyday. So, so grateful I can stay at home to goof off, I mean be with Bridger ;)

I'm thankful for this weird old house. It's ugly but works for us. I think of Feist's song Mushaboom a lot. It's following our life creepily well. I blogged about it a couple years ago. We were dreaming about babies and living in a second-floor apartment back then. Now we are making a home from a rented house and dreaming about owning acres on a little dirt road. Let's hope it keeps following our lives!

I'm grateful for the word of God. Since I got my iPhone, I've been reading my scriptures using the Gospel Library app. But I've gone back to the real deal the last few weeks and I love it. I love seeing all the highlighting and notes I've taken since I was 8. There is just something special about turning a page and touching each word.

I'm grateful for breakfast. The last few months I've been making real breakfasts more and more often. I don't know why I was so lazy before. Cereal and milk for me. Dry cereal and a banana for Bridger. I'm a stay at home mom for goodness sake! I have the time to make breakfast. It started with these blueberry biscuits. I'm sad berries aren't in season anymore. Now it's often grits and eggs. Homemade biscuits and jam. (I hyperventilated when my mom's peach jam ran out this week!) Pancakes or waffles. Or even sausage or bacon with eggs and grits or biscuits. Makes me think of my dad. He always made breakfast for us everyday before school/seminary. Too many times I slept in and didn't show him any appreciation. But Dad, I noticed and I am carrying on the tradition!

***

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thoughts lately

Some things I've been up to lately (since obviously blogging isn't one of them):
  • Baking. Oh I love it. Mostly various types of lemon breads. Mmmm.
  • Also making other things from scratch. Pizza dough (easiest thing on the planet), pie crusts (above). Yum.
  • Organizing my food board on Pinterest. Once I make a recipe from my Food board, I move it to my Pinned & Done board and make a few notes about it. It's been so very helpful during the daily "what am I going to cook??!" whine/lament. 
  • Starting and stopping various projects. (Sewing blankets, making a height chart etc)
  • Completing a few projects (hemming some vintage table runners and napkins from Nate's Grandma; making new slip-covers from my glider)
  • Spilling candle wax on the couch. Oops. 
  • Getting some Christmas shopping/projects done.
  • Eating everything in sight. Getting fat.
  • Growing a human being! A boy!
  • Raising a human being. Bridger brings me so much happiness.
  • Buying second-hand books from the kiddos. I get so excited about this!
  • Dreaming about our future. Cabin. Land on a lake. Horses. Babies. Little farm.
  • Instagramming. This family is super inspiring. Follow her!
  • Being grateful. Another post about that later. 
So now you're all caught up :)