For all you purpose-driven moms out there:
For the love you show your children, the care you put in their environment, and the difference you make in the world, I wish you all a happy and blessed Mothers’ Day!!
For all you purpose-driven moms out there:
For the love you show your children, the care you put in their environment, and the difference you make in the world, I wish you all a happy and blessed Mothers’ Day!!
It’s time to bring some life to this blog, dontcha think? 😉 I am honored to have my first ever guest blogger today. Fellow purpose-driven mom, Katie, has some good exercising advice that might even give me a kick-start (and my babies are 10 and 11!!) Read on, and then be sure to visit Katie at her blog, Moore From Katie.
Getting Back Into Shape After Having a Baby
At first, getting back into shape after a pregnancy can seem daunting. I for one, never thought I would get my ‘pre-pregnancy body’ back. Thankfully, getting back into shape can be both enjoyable and easy. With a little dedication, time, and a lot of determination, new mothers can lose weight fast, tone their muscles, and ease stress.
All exercise programs require a time commitment, trust me I learned that from experience! For new mothers, this time commitment can sometimes seem impossible. After all, newborns require a lot of time and mothers may feel stretched with just taking care of the baby. When most people think of an “exercise program,” the first thought that usually comes to mind involves gyms and endless hours working out. Fortunately for new mothers, getting back in shape doesn’t have to involve too many hours or trips to a sweaty gym. Getting back in shape can be accomplished while at home.
Before beginning any exercise regime, mother should speak with her doctor. Similar to how a mother worked with her doctor during pregnancy to prepare for post-delivery procedures, like umbilical cord blood banking and immunizations, a mother should work with her doctor to create the best plan to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
Mothers should also listen to their bodies; if the body doesn’t feel ready, mothers should hold off on exercising. Pregnancy affects each individual differently and recovering from delivery can take different amounts of time. I found that slowly getting back into a regular exercise routine worked best for me. I started with just a few exercises and a small amount of reps to start. As my body adjusted, I added more exercises and increased the amount of reps I was doing.
When beginning an exercise program, it can be important that new mothers take into consideration their daily schedule. For example, if a mother knows that their newborn will be taking a nap for at least half an hour, that time is a great opportunity to do some physical activities. While my little one slept I loved getting a few exercises in, instead of simply napping (even though that did sound appealing!). Getting in some exercise actually made me feel rejuvenated. Simple cardio and abdominal exercises can be done in the home or outside with very little equipment. A mother can buy a few fun exercise videos as well to help guide her through a well-rounded routine if she doesn’t feel confident in her ability to maintain a routine.
In addition to exercising regularly, new mothers should pay attention to their diet. Mothers that are breastfeeding will have to take that fact into consideration when planning their diet. A mother will need to increase her caloric intake to aid in milk production and will need to be sure to take in healthy foods for that increase. Lean proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables should be eaten. Hydration is also another important part in assisting in breastfeeding, as well as helping shed pounds.
When planning out a new exercise regime to get fit after pregnancy, new mothers shouldn’t stress; with planning, attention to detail, and commitment, mothers can get their pre-pregnancy bodies back.
“This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter @moorekm26.”
Scattered in among my current thoughts about houses, summer sandals and particle physics (no, not really!) are a few things you can actually benefit from: my thoughts on healthy oils for your skin. I have two cost-conscious favorites: almond oil and coconut oil. My splurge oil is jojoba. I’m sure there are a multitude of other healthy oils, many of which I am learning about for cooking purposes. But these oils are the ones I have tried myself and can vouch for. Here’s how they have helped me:
Almond oil as makeup remover
Whether you are sixteen or sixty, I hope you aren’t neglecting to take your makeup off at night. And if you use mineral makeup, as I do, then you know that it doesn’t wash, rub or cry off with any ease. But that’s okay, because we have oils that make the job ten times easier. I use about a dime-sized drop of almond oil on a warm-water washcloth to remove my makeup. It does a great job at a fraction of the cost of mainstream makeup removers AND is beneficial to your skin. Plus, being pure almond oil, it won’t clog your pores, threaten you with cancer or knock your hormone levels out of whack. After the first rinse, I typically use Style Essential’s Pink Mineral Complexion Bar. At least twice a week, I skip the Bar and use another dime sized drop of almond oil on my face, followed by draping a hot-water washcloth over my face for a couple of minutes. Sadly, I cannot remember who I learned this from – either Lisa at Style Essentials or Robin at Toxic Beauty – but I know both ladies would agree that this is an excellent way to cleanse and moisturize. If you double up on the almond oil, you don’t really even need another moisturizer, but I use one anyway because I absolutely lovvvvvve my moisturizer – it’s an olive oil crème from Style Essentials and it rocks!
One word of caution to contact lens wearers: When I wash my face at night I still have my contacts in. If you rub the almond-oil-washcloth too much into your eyes, as I sometimes do because I want to make sure I get all the eyeliner and mascara off, then you could get the oil onto your contacts and blur them up a bit. Lens solution cleans them right up, and I probably don’t even need to mention this to any of you, except that I’d be the reader who squints into the mirror saying, “Well, crap! She didn’t say anything about THIS!” So there. I said it.
Almond and Coconut oils as body lotion
I first used coconut oil as a moisturizer during my initial 365 days on this blog. I loved it! The one I bought has no scent, so I ran no risk of smelling like an Almond Joy. I would use it instead of lotion after a shower. My heels LOVED it and coconut oil became an immediate fixture in my homespun pedicures. After a while of using the coconut oil (especially during the winter) I got tired of having to warm up the solidified oil in order to use it, and I was afraid I was using too much and wasting. So I switched to almond oil – bought the big bottle – and added my favorite essential oil to it. Voila! Instant perfumed moisturizer. Into the big bottle I pour about 20 drops of jasmine oil (you can pick any oil or combination of your favorites!) and shake it up a bit. By the next morning, the essential oil is dispersed through the almond oil and smells sooooooo good. (NOTE: Do not use the scented oil as makeup remover. Keep a separate bottle of pure almond oil for your face. Trust me.) I have since also put jasmine oil into my coconut oil as well. And now, I use either the coconut or the almond right before I dry off from the shower – this way, I use less and there’s no chance of being shiny when I leave for work. J
The only thing I don’t like about the oils – and this may only relate to me and my personal weirdness – is that the oils react with the gold in one of my 14K rings and discolors my skin under the ring. Coconut oil makes it worse, but it still does it a little with the almond oil. If it’s the weekend and I have plenty of time between shower and jewelry, then it’s not an issue. Since it doesn’t react with my wedding ring, I’ve considered asking a jeweler to examine the gold in the other ring. But really…like I have time for that!
Coconut oil as tanning agent
OK, this is where it gets a little weird. Even I can see it. When I wrote the previous post about having to give up my sunless tanner, one of the commenters posted a link that has steered me in a completely new direction. The Paleo lifestyle…which shall be a whole post unto itself. I read this post on Sarah’s paleo blog and decided to give it a try. I mean, I’m already vampire white and eating differently from everyone else. What have I got to lose?
Sarah suggests that sun protection is more effective when addressed from the inside out. As the sunburn is a symptom of inflammation, address and prevent the inflammation itself. Makes sense to me. While I won’t go all into the paleo benefits and backups in this post, I will say that Sarah listed a small supplement routine that, in addition to the paleo lifestyle, should help increase sun tolerance, i.e. the time you can be in the sun without burning. Vitamin D (which gets cancelled out by sunscreen), cod liver oil (don’t gag…it’s tasteless in the gelcap form) and – you guessed it – coconut oil are all on the list.
Now, I’m still wrestling with this one, even though I totally see the reasoning behind it. Sarah suggests downing ¼ cup of coconut oil in a mug of herbal tea each day. I managed to do it for three days. Perhaps if I find a coconut oil for cooking that does not have the coconut flavor, I’ll be better about that. (And if, in the last cup, the oil didn’t pool on top of the tea – a fact which led my mom to believe I was completely outside my mind.) Instead, I have used coconut oil almost exclusively in my cooking.
My tiny paleo results, though skewed because of a week of complete dietary mishaps, are that I only got a tad pink on my neck during my four hours at the school’s Field Day last week, using no sunscreen (in the name of experimentation, people!) Also, my face was blemish-free for two weeks…until I went with Dom for pizza and beer. Damn the pizza and beer! I’m climbing back on the paleo wagon and will post more information when I’ve done proper experimentation. 😉
In the meantime, go get you some healthy oils, and be free of the cosmetic chemicals!
All evidence to the contrary, I have not abandoned my blog. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, then it will come as no surprise to you when I say that I tend to obsess over one thing at a time, often to the point of no return. And so it is now: I am involved in a project that requires MUCH obsessing. A project that has been simmering in the back of my mind for, oh, the past fourteen years. It’s time to build a house, folks. Bear with me.
While I will try not to bore you with the details of the home on this blog, the fun and the stress and the excitement and the stress and the decisions and the oh-my-dear-God-STRESS will invariably creep into my conversations here, so be forewarned. Did I mention the stress? If you are interested in more details of the crazy in my head, I am chronicling the whole process on another site. Please understand that you will not be impressed by anything I am doing in the building process. I am only journaling the experience so that when the house is complete and I’m all jacked up on caffeine, whiskey or worse, I can read through it all again and be moderately proud of the fact that I survived. That’s the plan, anyway. Wish me luck.
On a much more Purpose-Driven-Mom note, I watched Tapped over the holidays on Netflix. Equally educational as Food, Inc., Tapped is a documentary about the bottled water industry. Oh my. I will never drink bottled water again.
Yes, I know. I used the N-word. Every time I say I will “never” do something, it invariably presents itself inside of a necessity and I do it anyway. So, if we someday have some humongo natural disaster whereby all of our public water systems are rendered useless, you may, in fact, see me tip a bottle of Ozarka to my lips. Cut me some slack and I’ll share it with you, ‘k?
The fact is that you and I both need to understand that a bottle of “pure spring” water is merely someone else’s tap water, packaged up with a cute label so that a billion dollar corporation can charge you 100 times the cost of something to which all life has a basic right anyway.
Watch Tapped. Be informed. Buy a BPA-free reusable water bottle and drink from the tap. Let’s ask for buyback programs to help the recycling of the toxic plastic bottles, so that the companies producing and profiting from the manufacture of these bottles bear the cost of recycling them, rather than placing the responsibility on city governments who have other things to spend taxpayer dollars on… things like safe roads and clean parks. Just a thought.
So for 2012, it’s back to the basics for me. I’m drinking more water. I’m using less plastic. I’m trying to better my stewardship of the earth and its resources, even if I can only focus on one small thing at a time, like a bottle of water.
Between the house and the bottled water, I’m thinking eliminating the bottles will be a breeze.
Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that after having-it-up-to-here with magazines that promote unhealthy products and mindsets I half-heartedly subscribed to Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine? The tagline of the mag is “body + soul in balance.” It sounded like a fairly likeable magazine, unless it turned out to be just another catch-phrase label, cleverly masking its unhealthy content.
Which, I am quite pleased to say, it is not. I received my first issue nearly two weeks ago and I just now had a chance to really spend some time with it and see for myself what the editors think “whole living” is. I am ecstatic that they pretty much promote what I already believe, and their tagline is quite in balance with that. I sat down with my magazine tabs and was amazed at how many blue ones I needed. See, in my scheme of magazine perusal I color code ideas and things I want to come back to with these cute little page flags. The blue ones are for health/medical/wellness ideas that I either need to save or follow up on. Typically, even in Health magazine, I only used one or two blue flags, and that wasn’t even with every issue. LOOK at this:
That’s an unprecedented amount of blue tags, folks! Which means that they share a lot of health and wellness advice that I deem valuable.
Best part? No annoying ads of beautiful, air-brushed, you’re-never-gonna-look-like-this-in-a-million-years models. The ads are for things like seriously all-natural gummy vitamin supplements, organic teas, and products that promote natural beauty and health without chemicals and artificial ingredients (for the most part). They promote sustainable companies and products, which I realize I don’t know enough about. In short, I find this magazine to be severely lacking in “plastic promotion” – petrochemicals, harmful beauty regimens and overall fakeness. (Is “fakeness” even a word??) Allow me to share with you some of my favorite parts of the November 2011 issue:
Pages 2-3 contain an action plan for strengthening the immune system and beating stress in November, like how to ease a sore throat and a recipe for air freshener without hormone-disrupting chemicals. All of the advice solutions are natural – really natural, not just buzzword natural. 😉
Page 22 shares the “Econumdrum” of home efficiency and offers insight into how to improve your home’s heating efficiency this winter. Page 26 tells you how to shop for ethical meats. Several natural perfume recipes are listed on page 42, and page 48 enlightened me to the ancient art of Ayurveda. I’m going to share Page 52 with Dom as I try to get him to follow some yoga advice for people with rotator cuff injuries.
There is an entire recipe section where you’ll find all kinds of special-diet healthy recipes to share at Thanksgiving, so even people with food sensitivities can enjoy the feast at your table. And best of all, there is a recipe for Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Sea Salt. Oh my.
Not everything promoted in the mag is “organic,” which is okay because not everything has to be. One article even points out the fallacy in thinking that organic foods are healthier foods for losing weight, which I found out on my own is not the case. (Generally speaking, organic produce is preferred to its non-organic counterparts, but organic snacks are NOT necessarily lower in fat, sugar or calories. It is still incumbent upon us to read and decipher labels.) I also was inspired by the article that pointed out, “What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you. Listen to your body…”
Check out the magazine online. Subscribe. Or, buy one in the checkout line. Call me up and we’ll chat about the articles. You know you want to!
Sunday was officially the three month mark – three months until I say goodbye to my 30’s and hello to, well, life after my 30s’.
Six months ago I promised that my 40th birthday present to myself would be a new body (via a non-surgical route, thankyouverymuch). It sounded like a good idea at the time, and even though I have already reached my desired weight, I have not come even close to my desired tone. I’m a little, um…soft. And I know that can only be cured with movement. And no, standing on one’s feet from 4-10 pm doing dishes and laundry apparently doesn’t count. Wish that it did.
A house with stairs that I traverse fifty times a day doesn’t help either. My home represents the only time I ever disregarded my dad’s advice…he told me not to buy a two-story house. I foolishly commented that two-stories are “so pretty” and the stairs would give me “good exercise.” Phooey!
So this is it, folks…almost all of the tempting Halloween candy is gone, and I have been doing my level best to help rid our office of the leftover jelly beans. Sugar addiction is easy to fall into and hard to step out of. But I find that I feel sluggish lately, and I am pretty sure it’s a result of eating way too much junk. Heaven help me if my next post ends up being titled “Body by Jelly Belly.” No, I have to do better than this.
I have a lot of simple exercise plans that tout results after 4-6 weeks. I’m going for it. Not blindly, mind you. I am fully conscious of the fact that I should have put the pedal to the metal when I had this idea six months ago. But I didn’t, and so I start now. Three months of honest exercise. Twelve weeks. If I can’t see mild-to-moderate improvement by February, I’ll console myself with Heath bars and Moscato, wistfully toasting my thirties a fond farewell.
I’m in a funk today. Can’t seem to shake it. Not with comfort food. Not with drawstring pajama pants. Not even with Starbucks. The earth has tilted off its axis, folks, when caramel-flavored coffee can’t cheer me up.
Enter Stonyfield. There in my inbox tonight sat a tiny little email from them asking me to take a survey on a new yogurt idea they are considering. What else have I got to do tonight, right? So I take the survey and humbly ask them at the end in the comments to please see about marketing more yogurt variety to my area.
And heck, since I’m on Stonyfield’s site anyway, I may as well enter all these myStonyfield Rewards codes I have saved up from yogurt cartons we have used. So I log in and begin to enter my codes. And that’s when I see a new reward…a very inexpensive reward (I mean, besides being free, it only cost me 10 of my 89 points!!!!) A one year subscription to Organic Gardening. Thank goodness I didn’t buy that in Aaron’s school fundraiser!!!!!
Now, let’s talk about my magazine issues. No, not the actual paper issues, but the intense disdain I have for magazines in general. My issues…as in, in my head issues. Now you’re with me…
You’ve probably seen me mention that I enjoy and pay for two magazines: Southern Living and Health. Let’s face it, Southern Living would practically have to start bad-mouthing Mom and apple pie for me to stop loving that mag. Recipes, gardening advice, decorating tips that I will never follow in a million years but still love to drool over…that’s my quiet slice of heaven – with coffee – (when I’m not as moody as I am today.) 😉
I always liked Health, too. So much so that I order gift subscriptions for my mom and best friend. There are some great articles and good advice in each issue.
My problem with magazines is that I am increasingly aware of product advertising. And, as a natural result, I am aware of all the harmful ingredients being marketed to unsuspecting women, not to mention the subliminal messages that we all have to look a certain way, with perfect skin, hair and nails – which can all be ours if we just buy these products. Ugh.
When Aaron’s school kicked off their fundraiser earlier this month, I rolled my eyes. Magazine sales. Of all things. It took a week before I finally perused the selections in hopes of somehow showing my half-hearted support of this fundraiser. I found two magazines that interested me: Whole Living and Organic Gardening. I figured these two had much smaller chances of aggravating me with product advertisements for things I consider unhealthy. I chose Whole Living only because it was $2 cheaper than Organic Gardening. And now, thanks to Stonyfield and their reward points system, I get a year of Organic Gardening for free. How cool is that?!!!
These mags better have some cool stuff for me to share with you all, or their editors will hear from me. We need more organic, healthy living, you’re-not-alone-in-the-world-trying-to-keep-your-family-healthy periodicals, ya know? If I knew a single thing about the magazine business I’d start my own. For now, I’ll just have to hope my favorite yogurt keeps steering me toward good information and new sources.
It is finally up!! The page I promised nearly a month ago that was to outline all the product and food changes that I have specifically made in my home is finally posted. It is labeled Product Changes in the menu bar, and will remain a work in progress as I change and settle on better things for my family. The list was a labor of love, believe me. And there is still much that I probably didn’t even think to put on the list. But it’s up now, for better or for worse.
One of the reasons I am so delayed in posting the list is that I have been immersed in a book – and NOT the audio kind, for once! Kim had an extra copy of The Help, and I am two-thirds of the way through it. I saw the movie before I got the book, and I’m glad because I can hear the characters’ voices in my head as I read and I think that helps me with the dialect. But I find, too, that even away from the book I think in Aibileen’s voice. (As in, “Law, I shore am into this book!” and “Those chilluns better like this dinner I’m a cookin’” and “You is a good puppy. You is a smart puppy. But you is gettin’ yella dawg hair on my black skirt, and Law knows that ain’t right!”)
I’m taking mom to see the movie one day this week and then we will head out to harass some car salesmen with a three-page list of amenities I EXPECT to have on my next vehicle…for a price I like!
Law, give those po’ men the strength they gone need to deal with me!
Last Thursday night I had the privilege of sharing my story with ladies at my church, the St. Frances of Rome Circle. I planned to talk for just ten minutes and prayed that no one would doze off in the interim. My co-presenter, Kim (my partner-in-crime on Two Converts Blogging), first shared Pope Benedict XVI’s Ten Commandments for the Environment, which put everyone in the proper frame of mind with regard to stewardship of our natural resources and its effect on life around us. As Kim pointed out, we believe that we were given dominion over the earth and with that gift comes a great responsibility to care for it.
Then Kim turned it over to me to offer a mom’s perspective, since I have devoted the past fifteen months to making serious changes in our home for the betterment of ourselves and (hopefully) our planet. I shared my story pretty much as I have shared it here, talking about food ingredients and cosmetic safety, medications and meal plans.
Their interest astounded me.
They all listened intently as I hit the highlights, then they asked questions that brought the issues into clearer focus. Their open-mindedness told me that 1) I’m not crazy, 2) people DO care about the same things I care about, and 3) I have to do A LOT more sharing!! I answered questions for about 30 minutes. Questions like, “Have you noticed a difference in your healthcare costs?” “What do your kids eat for lunch?” “Do your kids know how to read labels?” and the most important question, “Where do we start if we want to make changes?”
My head was spinning! I truly expected to share my story and then have everyone smile politely with looks that betrays a single thought: This lady is off her rocker! Of course, I should have known better. These are energetic ladies who work hard at their jobs and then give even more of themselves to serve in various capacities in their church and community. They are open, honest and genuine. And if they really did think I was a fruit loop, it wouldn’t have only been evident in their eyes…they would have told me straight to my face! 😉
Since I know several of my circle sisters read this blog, I want to thank you each for your interest, your graciousness, and your questions. You have given me much to think about with regard to more effectively spreading the word, and even more reason to love each of you.
One of the first things I am going to add to this site is a list of all the food and products that I have changed over the last almost-year-and-a-half as a resource for the things that I have researched and decided to purchase. It will be its own page called “Product Changes” and will get frequent updates as I move toward healthier choices in my own home. I hope that in the process it is helpful to you too.
OK, ‘member how I said I would pick one green thing and work it like a Vegas call girl?
A week ago (maybe two…who’s counting?) Dom was greeted downstairs on a weekend morning by a whole bottle of merlot crashed on our kitchen tile. It happened sometime during the night. A large platter scooted from its precarious position on the top shelf of a built-in hutch, nudging a bottle of wine to the edge of the shelf where it was able to escape because I had not secured the door shut earlier the day before. The wine fell six feet to a cardboard box, which I assume broke its fall, and it bounced off the box to fall another fifteen inches and crash on the ceramic tile. I guess this is why no one, including our two award-winning watch-dogs (har, har), heard anything at all during the night. The purple wine-stained mess was waiting for Dom when he awoke at 6-something with the dogs, and it had already mostly dried. (Ironically, NONE splattered on the nearby walls. I’m sure stranger things have happened. Just not to me.) Dom spent a fair amount of time cleaning the broken glass, etc, before waking me to alert me to the purple grout under our table. Lovely.
Confession: I don’t know what else I had going on that weekend, but I’m sure I was super-busy, and whatever occupied my agenda was obviously waaaaaaay more important than wine-stained grout. Don’t judge, ‘k?
So, like I said, that was a week or two ago. I could say that I spent all that time researching the safest and most effective way to eco-clean my grout, but I’d totally be lying. I honestly thought we’d be chiseling it out and refilling it with new grout so I didn’t give it much more thought.
But then I realized I was middle-school nesting and all, and well…suddenly one of the only things left to clean was my grout.
So here’s my news: You can clean two-week-old merlot from beige grout with baking soda and peroxide.
I’m not such a fan of scrubbing my teeth with the smile-whitening combo, but grout I can scrub!! I let it soak for probably 30 minutes before scrubbing it up and seeing the resulting sludge turn a purple-grey color. Because of the spill radius, and because I worked on small areas at a time in case I faded the original grout color, in just under two hours we went from this
The next day when the area had dried sufficiently I could still see some baking soda residue, so I used our Shark Steam Mop to clean it all up. I was so completely enamored with my new-found discovery that I tackled the kids’ bathroom grout next. That took an hour and a half and included me dismantling the toilet to scrub under the seat screws. When will this nesting dementia end, I ask you?! (FYI, if you have one or more sons and you suddenly have the desire to dismantle the toilet seat for a pure and proper cleaning, DON’T. The seat screws open up a portal to the Seventh Dimension of Hell. I couldn’t call myself a friend if I didn’t warn you.) I tossed the entire toilet seat into the bathtub, sprinkled it with baking soda and filled the tub. I am honestly amazed at its power.
All in all this weekend I scrubbed and cleaned and un-disgusted the kitchen and bathroom with nothing more than castille soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. And the best part of it all was that since I was using completely harmless cleaners, Victoria joined me and began scrubbing right beside me. Considering that the bathroom grout started out a funny brown color, the end result is worth sharing.
Yeah, that’s the floor. My photography lessons have obviously been put on hold so I could sharpen my cleaning skills. 😉 Now, if only that 1967 Avocado Green would come back in style…