Manageable exercise routines

I’m going to take a guess and say that everyone has already dropped their elaborate workout plans from their grand new years resolutions. If you’re still achieving your goal then great, keep up the good work and try not to rub it in our faces. For everyone else, lets lower the bar from the grand new years resolution and raise it from the nothing we’ve recently settled for.

For a long time I’ve fallen into a dramatic all or nothing mentality. Otherwise whats the point, right? Wrong! Let’s not confuse the “point” with “the goal”. Your goal for working out may have been to fit into a certain clothing size, to see muscle definition, to achieve a magical number on the scale, or a number of other personal reasons. These are all benefits of exercise. The point of working out is for your health. Wether you fit into a certain outfit, see your muscles, or bring your weight down doesn’t determine if the exercise was healthy or not. So lets get this straight, this post is not to “help you reach your goals” this post is about manageable ways to fit exercise into your life.

I could write a whole post about why exercise is important but you already know… Exercise strengthens your muscles, and gets your blood flowing. Your blood flow affects so many things! The oxygen thats carried throughout your body gives you energy. And increased blood flow pushes endorphins to release into the blood, which affects hormones levels. This whole blood flow thing is the health power behind exercise. But like I said I could go on forever about health stuff. So let’s move along.

When I stepped outside of the all or nothing mentality, I was able to ask myself what I could actually handle. My life as I assume yours is too, is fairly busy. My big starting goal was an intense 15 minute daily workout. I know it’s pathetic that I couldn’t handle that. Hence the all or nothing dilemma. I mean what is a step down from 15 minutes? Aha! And just like that we are back to the important question.

Here are some easy and effective ways to incorporate exercise into your life:

  1. Do squats while you brush your teeth
  2. Hold a plank for the duration of a commercial break, and try a different exercise for each commercial. Rest while the show is on.
  3. Multitask your bible reading and exercise time, by working out while listening to an audio bible.
  4. Jog when you go out for the mail.
  5. Do leg lifts when you get in bed at night.
  6. And the most obvious, do a few stretches and exercises whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to spare.

 

Sleeplessness and side effects

The past few weeks have been exhausting. Being a mom without sleep just doesn’t work. You don’t just get to rest because you need it. You have to take advantage of those night time hours for sleep or do with out. Caffeine will only provide so much. Once your energy is depleted it’s gone, but all the demands of motherhood are still there.

This brought me to my desperate state I was in last night. In my house we don’t have a medicine cabinet, we have a supplement cabinet. I had two options melatonin or valerian root.

I’m not a fan of melatonin. It makes me feel a lot like medicine makes me feel. I get that cloudy, dopey feeling, and in the morning I’m groggy and feel hungover. I had to take my husband to the airport in the morning, so that wasn’t really even an option. I have always heard such great things from the “natural living” community about melatonin. I was so disappointed when I tried it for the first time. I had it a full week to let it get in my system and hopefully regulate, but I was miserable.

This is a huge reason I started this blog. I hear and see a lot of hype around natural products and remedies. I’m not coming to you to sell anything or pushing any agenda. I hope that through sharing my experiences I can shed more light on some of these things.

Ok let’s get back on topic here and talk about my second option which I went with, valerian root. I’ve had valerian root in the past and I’ve loved it. First off I noticed it helped combat my anxiety. I later found that this is a common effect of valerian root. Now the second thing I’ve come to realize about it, is it doesn’t guarantee my sleep. This can be frustrating, but probably the reason I don’t feel dopey after taking it.

So last night I decided to take valerian root, and I put a few drops of lavender on my wrists and neck. I put on my eye mask and laid down in bed. I was ready to fall asleep after a few minutes, but I couldn’t stop wondering if you could pickle sugar snap peas. Don’t you hate it when your brain bombards you with ridiculous thoughts as you’re laying in bed? I knew it would bug me until I knew. I took off my eye mask and grabbed my phone to google, “Can you pickle sugar snap peas”

When I did, I couldn’t see what I was typing. Now I have terrible eyesight so this wasn’t too shocking. I’m nearsighted so my solution was to bring my phone closer to my face. But this didn’t help. I pulled it away from my face and still nothing. At this point I was starting to panic. I couldn’t see. My eyesight is bad, but not that bad! I covered my left eye and I could see a little better, but still not well by any means. Then I covered my right eye and this real made me panic. Not only was my phone blurry, but my depth perception was off. It was almost like looking though a magnifying glass, when the center looks closer than the edges.

I started worrying that something was wrong with me. Maybe I had glaucoma or diabetes and this was the first sign. So much for anxiety relief…

My husband started googling valerian root side effects and blurry vision wasn’t listed. As time passed I noticed my vision slowly getting better, not normal but better. I started googling valerian root myself, and eventually found a website that confirmed that blurred vision was a side effect of valerian root in some people.  Apparently I’m one of those people.

This is why you always want to do extensive research on these natural remedies, and not just take someones word for it. Everyone reacts to things differently. What works for you might effect me totally differently.

Despite all the chaos of blurred vision, I have to confess that I had the best sleep I’ve since becoming a mother! I’m not sure that it was worth it, but I’m going to enjoy this refreshed feeling while it lasts. Hopefully lavender and a eye mask gets me through tonight.

Are you scared of making bread?

I used to be terrified to make any kind of bread. Yeast was a scary unpredictable ingredient, and kneading was a laborious art form. But listen, there is something you should know about me… If I can mess something up in the kitchen, I will! I get distracted easily and I’m not great at following directions. I do steps out of order and mess up measurements. If you came here to learn from a pro, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m more of that person that you look at and say, “Well, if she can do it, then I can definitely do it too!” If you follow me on instagram you can join me in the kitchen to make some hamburger buns, and see just how many mistakes I make.
Click here to see my Instagram

If you came here from instagram get excited, this is where I share the recipe I used! (This recipe is not mine)
Click here to see the burger bun recipe I used

I’ve learned that rolls, buns, and pizza dough (NOT the toss, flip, and spin pizza doughs…) are very do-able for the average home cook. Yeast is just an ingredient and nothing to be scared of. Most recipes tell you to add sugar and water to “proof the yeast” Basically yeast is dried. Sugar and water make it come back to life. So if it bubbles its good, if it doesn’t (Which rarely happens. It’s only happened to me once or twice) then something is wrong. Your yeast could be expired, or your kitchen could be too cold.

Aside from being a bit messy, kneading isn’t so bad. And if you have a mixer with a dough hook, you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. I was always scared that you had to knead the dough to the perfect consistency or you’d ruin your bread. And while over kneading can make your bread more dense, it still comes out of the oven warm delicious bread. I always try to remember my dough should look smooth, and once it does, stop kneading.

The other big concern for me, was the flour measurements. Most people make such a big deal about using more or less flour depending on how your dough looks, feels, and pulls away from the bowl. To be honest, this step is very similar to the kneading results. If you add too much flour your bread won’t be as soft and fluffy. If you don’t add enough its hard to work with. I’m sure not adding enough flour alters the texture as well. I’m not a professional, so I don’t know. What I do know is, even if you get this step wrong, you still end up with warm yummy bread.

All of these things take time to get down, but don’t let that stop you from trying out a few easy recipes. You’ll learn what works best for you, but you’ll still make lots of yummy treats in the process.

 

Here are some of my favorite easy recipes I found on Pinterest:

A quicker burger bun recipe (You can also just make them smaller as serve them as dinner rolls)

Rosemary bread

Pizza pinwheels

Beware of vinegar!

Vinegar isn’t always what it’s hyped up to be. Sometimes it’s more! Pinterest boasts about the amazing powers of vinegar, and makes it out to be the all in one, one for all, miracle cleaner. I bought right into it and for good reason. It really is a great cleaner, once you get past the smell (Which I never really did.
But let me get to the point of this post. Vinegar is powerful, sometimes too powerful for the jobs we give it. I wrote this post to plead with you to stop using vinegar in your appliances. Most blogs are leaving out the fact that you are ruining your appliances by adding that miracle working vinegar. The vinegar doesn’t just stop once it’s eaten through the scum, dirt and grim you intend for it to dissolve. Nope, it keeps going right through the rubber gaskets, hoses and seals. How do I know this? Well it cost me a washing machine. Oh yes friends I speak from a place of experience. The dangers of vinegar aren’t just spooky stories made up by the big cleaning companies to con you into buying their products, instead of saving money with natural options.
So don’t add vinegar to your dishwasher to erase those water spots, or to you washing machine as a natural fabric softener, to your steam cleaner for added cleaning power, and beware of how often you’re running it through your coffee maker.
If you’ve used vinegar a time or two in one of these ways, don’t panic. The damage happens over time and your appliances are probably fine. Natural cleaners work for a reason. They are powerful. Keep that in mind when you find natural solutions.

Cold and flu remedy

Cold and flu remedy

Part of my natural lifestyle is trying to heal my body naturally when I’m sick. Let me go ahead and insert my disclaimer:

ALWAYS USE YOUR BEST JUDGEMENT! I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR MEDICAL PROFESSION OF ANY KIND. I AM ONLY SHARING MY EXPERIENCES WITH YOU. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. YOU MAY WANT TO CONTACT YOU HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANYTHING MENTIONED HERE. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING RESULTING IN FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF THIS POST!

Ok now that that’s taken care of I’ll share my go to cold and flu remedy as promised by the title.

Detox Bath

You will need:

Powdered ginger (the dried spice)

Cream of Tarter

Epsom salt (optional)

Add a couple of tablespoons of the ginger to a hot bath. Caution the ginger makes the water get hotter.So don’t run a steaming hot bath. Aim for just hot enough to not be considered just warm. I recommend adding the ginger 1 tablespoon at a time and giving it a minute before adding another. Then dump in a tablespoon of cream of tarter.You can pour the epsom salt in whenever if you choose to use it. I also recommend bring a bottle of drinking water with you to sip on while you’re in the tub. The hot water causes you to sweat which can dehydrate you. The sweating is good though, it pulls the toxins out of you. I don’t know the science of it all, but it has worked for me every single time. I stay in for about an hour, but you should follow your bodies cues. If you start to feel light headed, if you think you might be sweating too much, or the ginger irritates your skin, get out. Regardless of how long you stay in take your time getting out, be sure to rehydrate, and rest afterwards. The detox can make you feel weak or light headed for a bit. The ginger will also make your nose run.

You’ve been warned! This is not a fun relaxing bath. My husband calls it being boiled in the tub. Remember try this at your own risk! One other thing, the powdered ginger leaves a nasty ring in the tub. It’s never stained my tub, but I hate cleaning it up.

Who knew apple peel tea was a thing

I hate to waste, and I’m one of the worlds worst about wasting food. Not on my plate though, of course. This lady likes to eat! But I buy groceries, and then let them go bad. It’s really frustrating but when I don’t over buy, I typically run out of food before my next trip to the store. I know I’m an adult and I should manage my house better. Maybe one day I’ll get there. But for now I’m working on making use of the food I can, before it goes bad.

Here is where the apple peel tea comes in. I had 5 apples that were starting to soften (not like rotten and mushy but just not as crisp anymore). I decided that I would make apple sauce. I looked up a recipe, and then did my own thing because I’m stubborn like that.

I used my apple slicer to cut and core the apples. Then I peeled them with a knife. I tossed them in a stock pot, on a steamer basket, with a some water. I put the lid on, and steamed them until I could slide a fork right through them. After a few spins in the food processor, I had apple sauce. The baby and I did a taste test. I scooped the rest in a mason jar and stored it in the fridge.

The recipe said to boil the apples in water, but I figured that would boil all the flavor and nutrients out. It also called for sugar and cinnamon. The baby doesn’t need that stuff and it was sweet enough for me with out it.

(Update 2 weeks later it’s still good)

Ok back to the tea. I kind of got off topic, sorry. 

I looked back at my cutting board and felt wasteful tossing out the small mound of apple peel. I vaguely remembered my grandmother feeding her apple pulp from her juicer, to her plants. I googled it to see if apple peel was actually beneficial to my plants and found apple peel tea instead. It was easy enough to make. Just toss your peels in a pot of water with some spices. Bring them to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Then drain off the water into a cup. Voila! Apple peel tea. I didn’t have cinnamon sticks, so I simmered mine with a few tablespoons of mulling spices. I have to say it was pretty yummy. It’s probably more of a cold weather hot tea, but I didn’t mind.

Tomorrow I plan to make use of some extra lemons in my refrigerator by making a lemon cake.

I did not include links to the websites I found the recipes on because I didn’t actually use the recipes and mainly because I didn’t pay attention to what site I was on… Sorry!

Also if you were wondering about the plant food thing… Your guess is as good as mine. I got distracted by the tea and stopped looking. 

The EWG

Have you ever wondered how safe that “green” product really is?

If you’re like me you’ve read the ingredient list and been completely confused. Sometimes I think you need to be a scientist to understand the ingredients. I’ve tried looking up the ingredients online, but let’s be honest… If I did that for every product I thought about buying… I’d be researching all day and I’d never get anything done!

One day, I can’t really remember how; I wondered across this website called the Environmental Working Group. You can look up your household items or cosmetics and they tell you how toxic it is and why. They don’t have everything on their site but they do have a lot. They even have an app so you can just scan items. The site has a ton of great articles as well.

Check them out: http://www.ewg.org

Let me know in the comments what you think and if you learned anything

Lemi Shine Review

I don’t know if any of you have even heard of this product… it’s kind of hard to find. I started out using there dish washer booster powder to make homemade dishwasher tabs. The recipe I was using called for Citric acid, and that’s basically what it was. A few years later they rolled out a whole line of cleaning products, including dishwasher tabs. And they quickly became one of my favorite natural brands.

So here are my thoughts on the products I’ve used:

The dish soap

  • The scent is REALLY strong. I could hardly use it when I was going through morning sickness. Don’t get me wrong it smells nice and citrus-y it’s just very intense
  • It doesn’t leave spots on my dishes
  • It didn’t leave an residue on my dishes
  • It really does a great job getting that greasy film off without having to scrub hard
  • The only down side is the scent is so strong I can’t wash my yeti lids or straws in it because they will smell like it and it mess’s with my sense of taste. Don’t misunderstand me there is no actual soap taste.
  • On the other side… those plastic Tupperware containers that smell like garlic after a while don’t stand a chance
  • I’ve also noticed how well it gets spaghetti sauce stains off of my plastic containers

Dishwasher tabs

  • Works great! Much better than my homemade ones
  • No spots on my glass
  • I clean all food off my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher so I can’t really tell you how good they are at getting off stuck on food
  • It has a light lemon scent that I smell when the dishwasher is on heated dry

The Glass Cleaner

  • No chemical smell
  • Doesn’t contain ammonia
  • It’s the only thing that will leave my black stove top streak free and shiny
  • It does the job but I do struggle with streaks on my mirrors

So far these are the only products I’ve tried. I have bought the dish washer booster but I didn’t use it for it’s intended purpose. So I can’t really review it. They also have an all purpose spray that I haven’t tried. I wish it was easy to find their products, they seem pretty natural and plant based. I faithfully use the dish washing liquid and the dishwasher tabs. The glass cleaner is kind of a take it or leave it deal for me. I love that it doesn’t smell like ammonia or vinegar but if I could find another natural brand that doesn’t leave streaks on my mirrors I would switch.

If you have tried this brand, let me know what you think of it in the comments below

Eco’s laundry detergent

So while we are talking about laundry detergents, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a natural detergent I’ve tried.

I ran out of my DIY laundry soap right around the time I had my son. I won’t get into all the details, but my postpartum recovery didn’t go as smoothly as I would have wanted. So needless to say I wasn’t up to making my laundry soap. I had a new baby in the house so I needed something gentle. Even though I bought him his own special baby detergent for his clothes. I still wanted something gentle for mine since he would be snuggling me and my clothes all the time and laying on my bed. My husband came home with the unscented Eco’s liquid laundry detergent. I will say that my son didn’t have any adverse reactions to it and I eventually started throwing his clothes in with ours.

Here are my thoughts on it:

  • My whites came out dingy
  • It did nothing for the stains
  • It did neutralize odors
  • Overall I didn’t feel my clothes were really getting clean because nothing came out bright like I was used to with my DIY soap

I can’t say it was terrible, but I just wasn’t a fan. If you’ve tried it and feel differently, let me know in the comments below.

Homemade laundry soap

So this is one of my favorite natural diys! I got the base recipe from Pinterest at http://triciainglett-frugalmommy.blogspot.com/2013/02/home-made-laundry-detergent.html?m=1 This blogger has tons of DIY cleaner recipes and lots of other stuff of her blog. You should check it out!

Now I will warn you, it costs around $30 to make so it’s not initially cheaper than store bought laundry soap. The reason this DIY is absolutely worth it and healthy house wife approved is, it lasts my family about 6 months to a year but typically closer to a year. Because you only use a tablespoon or two per load. And I’m not exaggerating! Don’t put too much, not only is it a waste, but I can’t guarantee it will all wash out.

Here’s my recipe:

1 box of Borax

1 box of Super Washer Soda

1 3LB tub of Oxyclean

1 4Lb box of Baking Soda

2 small or 1 and a half large Downy Unstoppables

1 box of Zote soap flakes

I dump everything in a bucket and stir with a wooden spoon. It helps if you stir as you go. Another great tip is let your kiddos make this for you. They have fun and you don’t have to do it. My young sister in law LOVES coming over and making it for me. I help open boxes and sometimes take a turn or two stirring and she does the rest! I went to Walmart and bought a big glass jar with a lid and I keep the one of the tiny scoops from a smaller oxyclean container to scoop it.

There is nothing wrong with the original recipe, this is just my preferred ingredients. For one it was a pain grating the the soap and the microwave trick took FOREVER not to mention how many times I burned my hands. If you can’t find the flakes, I recommend using the cheese grater on a food processor if you have one. Just make sure to wash all the soap off really well before using it for food again. And I love the the scent beads more than the crystals.

Ok now here’s why I think it’s worth all the work when I could buy a chemical free detergent:

  • My whites have never been more white
  • It’s a great stain fighter, I even dip an old wet tooth brush in it and use it as a prewash spot treatment
  • I don’t need fabric softener when I wash my cloths with it
  • My clothes smell fantastic for weeks
  • I know exactly what I’m washing my clothes in
  • I feel good knowing I’m saving money but not sacrificing quality
  • It works so much better than the natural laundry soaps I’ve tried

If you try this recipe let me know what you think in the comments. Did you make any changes and what’s your favorite scent to add?